Gangs Attempt Hostile Takeover Of Airport

Monday saw a mass breakout from Haiti’s two biggest jails. Earlier, armed gangs stormed the country’s main international airport, where a shootout took place between the gangs and police and military.

Gang members had overrun the two central jails and liberated thousands of prisoners over the weekend, leading officials to issue a midnight curfew.

The prison breaks happened only hours after the curfew went into effect. At the time of the incident, the airport was closed, and neither planes nor people were using it.

Reinforcements repelled the assault on a police academy, which is home to more than 800 cadets undergoing training. Haiti’s prime minister, Ariel Henry, has been noticeably absent since the beginning of the most recent and severe wave of violence last week. No measure, not even a proclamation of emergency and curfew, would see Harry’s signature. His finance minister, acting as prime minister, signed the curfew proclamation.

Henry had departed from New Jersey on a chartered airplane bound for Puerto Rico, but the Dominican authorities promptly halted all air traffic with Haiti. According to White House national security spokesperson John Kirby, the United States does not have a good idea of where he is.

As a result of the gang violence surge, Haiti has announced a 72-hour state of emergency. The government is seeking inmates in pre-trial imprisonment and those who have escaped on charges of murder, kidnapping, and other offenses.

Murders, lynchings, rapes, and other acts of gang violence spiked sharply last year, according to the UN. As a result of the violence, at least 15,000 people have been displaced, according to the UN’s immigration office.

A new low point in Haiti’s violent spiral has been reached with the assaults on Port-au-Prince public institutions, such as the national soccer stadium and international airport. According to the Office of Citizen Protection, 1,033 inmates from the Croix-des-Bouquets prison fled, and out of 3,798 inmates detained at the penitentiary, all but 98 managed to get away. After the mass escape, the Office of Citizen Protection is worried about the safety of everyone involved, including judges, prosecutors, victims, and attorneys.

American Americans are strongly encouraged to leave Haiti immediately, as the U.S. Embassy has halted all official travel.