The Haitian security forces reported the death of ‘Kòlèg’, one of the most dangerous referents of the vandalism group that disputes the heart of Port-au-Prince. This happens in a context where the capital of the Caribbean country is submerged in extreme violence caused by a gang dispute that has already claimed the lives of hundreds of civilians in recent months and forced many others to forcibly leave their homes, according to data from United Nations.
The Haitian National Police (PNH) reported on August 3 the death of ‘Kòlèg’, whom they characterized as one of the leaders of the fearsome 400 Mawozo gang, authors of the kidnapping of 16 American missionaries and a Canadian in October 2021, among many other criminal acts.
As detailed by the authorities, the leader of the gang was killed during tense clashes in Duval Wòch, in the town of Croix-des-Bouquets. Along with Kòlèg, three other companions also fell –among them ‘Ronald’, right-hand man- and firearms were stolen.
The Police had listed Kòlèg as one of the most influential referents of the 400 Mawozo gang and that he had control of the Nan Remy area, within the Croix-des-Bouquets commune, located ten kilometers from Port-au-Prince.
This happens in the context where Haiti, with its capital as its epicenter, is submerged in an environment of extreme violence that transcended the gang dispute. Criminals stalk civilians, burn them alive, commit rape as a means of intimidation, and kidnap them for money.
According to data provided by the United Nations, only between July 8 and 12, at least 234 people died in Cité Soleil, a precarious neighborhood in Port-au-Prince. There were clashes over territorial control that also left dozens of injured and thousands of isolated people without drinking water, food or medical care.
Last Monday, the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH) reported that Between April 24 and May 16, 188 people were killed in the national city. In addition, another 120 were injured and 12 ended up missing. Of the victims, just over half were citizens and the rest were gang members.
While the agency also added that 16,000 people were forced to leave their homes and wander through other sectors of the territory seeking refuge.
“Armed with assault rifles, but also with machetes and gasoline cans, the gangs spare no one,” reads the statement from the UN office. Meanwhile, it adds that “women and children up to one year of age were executed in their homes and their bodies burned.”
There is a strong possibility that these crimes will go unpunished
“Young adolescents, accused of spying for the opposite side, have been executed in public places. The rape of women and girls, some under 10 years of age, was used as a weapon to terrorize”complaint.
The BINUH reported frequent police activity and violent operations, but harshly criticizes the Justice system, which is slow and weak. “There is a strong possibility that these crimes will go unpunished,” he said.
Insecurity is one of Haiti’s main problems, raising the death toll so far this year to 900 people. To this is added the deep political crisis that was accentuated after the assassination of Jovenel Moïse in July 2021.
Natural conditions did not help either: the following August, the island country suffered one of the ten deadliest earthquakes in the last 25 years in Latin America after killing 2,000 citizens.
The figures given by the UN body for Food and Agriculture (FAO) reveal the nutritional deficiencies. 80% do not have guaranteed access to food, while 47.2% suffer from malnutrition.
Source: France 24