Official: Suspected gang members kill Haitian police officer amid violence
Haitian authorities say suspected gang members ambushed a group of police officers, set fire to an armored vehicle and killed a police officer in the latest attack on the Haitian National Police.
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — In the latest attack on the Haitian National Police, suspected gang members ambushed a group of police officers, setting fire to an armored vehicle and killing one officer.
The attack happened late Wednesday in the town of Source Matelas, north of the capital Port-au-Prince, police said.
“This crime is unconvincing and will not go unpunished,” the Haitian National Police said in a statement Thursday, adding that police officers should not be intimidated.
A video circulating on social media showed the dead body of the police officer while the alleged gang members mentioned the name of Izo, leader of the ‘5 Seconds’ gang, as one of them posed with the victim.
Also on Wednesday, unidentified assailants opened fire on a car carrying anti-corruption judge Jean Wilner Morin, who survived the attack. Haiti’s communications ministry said Friday that the attack took place in the upscale suburb of Petionville. The agency called it “horrific and criminal” and noted that it would not prevent Morin from carrying out his duties.
The gangs control an estimated 80% of the capital and have taken control of communities north of Port-au-Prince, previously considered safe, as they have grown stronger since the July 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse.
More than 21 police officers were killed in the first three months of the year, according to the U.N. That number rose, with three more killed in early April as the U.N. chief and others called for the immediate deployment of an international force in Haiti. the Prime Minister called for combating gang violence in October. But no one showed any interest in leading such a force.
The Haitian National Police is understaffed and under-resourced, with about 13,200 active-duty officers serving the country of more than 11 million people. The international community provided police training and equipment, including armored vehicles paid for by the Haitian government, but many of these were seized by heavily armed gangs.