State of Emergency in Haiti Declared After Thousands of Inmates Break Free

( – Haiti has been in chaos since the murder of President Jovenel Moise in 2021. Violence runs rampant and the US Department of State has urged Americans to avoid all travel to the country because of various factors, including crime, the risk of being kidnapped, poor health infrastructure, and civil unrest. Now, officials in the nation have declared a state of emergency.

On Sunday, March 3, the government issued a statement acknowledging there was a “deterioration in security,” caused by “increasingly violent criminal acts perpetrated by armed gangs.” These gangs were responsible for attacking two penitentiaries in Croix-des-Bouquets and Port au Prince, releasing thousands of inmates. Officials asked all police with the capability to respond to the prisons, but they were unable to fight the attackers off. Several staff members as well as some inmates in the prisons were injured during the sieges.

Police believe most of the inmates in both prisons were gone, though a few — those accused in Moise’s murder, and those too old to get around — remained. The Croix-des-Bouquets institution held around 1,400 inmates, while the one in the capital held approximately 800.

The original state of emergency was declared for 72 hours, with the possibility of renewal. The proclamation also noted a 6 p.m. through 5 a.m. curfew for all residents covered by the announcement. The US Embassy urged Americans in the country to flee, as well.

According to UPI, Jimmy Cherizier, a gang leader, has presumably taken responsibility for the attacks and subsequent release of criminals onto the streets. He is reportedly unhappy with Prime Minister Ariel Henry’s rule and has promised to wreak havoc until Henry is ousted. The attack occurred when the prime minister was out of the country. He was visiting Kenya to garner support and up to 1,000 police officers to help get Haiti back under control.

Copyright 2024,