Death toll mounts as gangs rule Haiti

Port-au-Prince – Several thousand people have been gunned down in Haiti this year, as a result of violence caused by heavily armed gangs calling the shots in the capital’s poor and densely populated slum areas, in complete defiance of the Caribbean country’s authorities and frail police force, human rights groups say.

Defenders Plus (Défenseurs Plus), a prominent Haitian rights group, said in addition to the deaths, dozens others were wounded and admitted to the hospital.

“Two thousand, seven hundred and sixty-nine people were killed in the capital’s metropolitan area from January 1 to October 30, 2022,” Antonal Mortimé, head of the human rights organization, told HCNN on Monday.

“But this figure does not include a number of people who died in hospitals after being attacked and injured,” headed.

Several rights groups have called attention to an exponential increase in violence in Haiti and complained about the fact that people do not seem to bother anymore about seeing dead bodies on the streets in their neighbourhoods.

On many occasions, you see corpses lying on the ground, while everyone goes about their normal business, as if nothing had happened,” Mortimé said.

“Therefore, what should have been seen as tragic is considered normal,” the rights advocate told HCNN, adding “also there have been more than 20,000 people displaced, during the past months, just in the capital”.

Mortimé said that 85 per cent of those murdered were gunned down, while the 25 per cent fell victim to mob violence or bladed weapon attacks.

Another rights group, Justice & Peace Commission, known as CE-JILAP in French and linked to the Catholic Church, has, on its part, indicated that they have collected data showing that 863 people were killed, mostly by gunshots, from January to November 2022.

“Eight hundred and sixty-three people have been killed, including 792 by gunshots. Among those killed there were also 83 women, 11 children and 38 policemen,” Jocelyne Colas, CE-JILAP’s national director, stated over the weekend.

Colas, however, admitted that the figures released by her organization represent a very conservative estimate of the total number of fatal victims since the beginning of the year.

Human rights observers say that more than 20,000 people have been displaced over the past few months, as a result of gang violence in the metropolitan area of the capital Port-au-Prince. (CMC/HCNN)

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