The United States announced it will not send troops to Haiti amidst a surge of gang violence in the country.

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The US has announced that it will not deploy soldiers to Haiti following a surge of gang violence that appears to be an attempt to overthrow the weak government and its unpopular leader, Ariel Henry in the Caribbean country.

On Monday night, nearly five days after powerful organized crime bosses launched a wave of deadly and apparently coordinated attacks, the US news group McClatchy reported there had been “frantic” exchanges between US and Haitian diplomats that had raised the prospect of an emergency deployment of US special forces to help restore order.

The idea of deploying American troops to Haiti to assist in security operations was dismissed by a national security council representative. They stated that the United States has no plans to send military personnel to the country.

In Port-au-Prince, the coastal capital of Haiti, the atmosphere was tense and uncertain due to an ongoing gang rebellion. The rebels have been targeting important locations such as police stations, prisons, a port, and the international airport. Residents could hear intense gunfire as the army attempted to defend against the heavily armed attackers.

Yolette Jeanty, a human rights advocate residing near the airport, stated that there has been a significant amount of gunfire since yesterday and it can still be heard in the distance.

Jeanty mentioned that currently, people are confined to their homes and unable to go anywhere. He shared that his coworker had to return home on Sunday after encountering numerous dead bodies on the streets during his outing.

“In order to keep ourselves safe, it is necessary for everyone to stay locked inside their homes.”

At least a thousand inmates, including dangerous criminals such as gang members, murderers, and kidnappers, escaped from the primary prisons in Haiti when they were attacked by gang members. The government has since declared a state of emergency lasting three days beginning on Sunday evening.

It seemed that the police had mostly withdrawn from the downtown area of the city, which was strangely quiet. Numerous banks, establishments, and governmental buildings were not in operation. The remains of three bodies were still present near the damaged national penitentiary, which had vacant cells and a wide-open entrance. Residents covered their noses to escape the unpleasant odor. Additionally, eight deceased individuals were visible scattered throughout the surrounding neighborhoods.

According to a taxi driver known as Wisly, their identity is still unknown. It is believed that someone in the vicinity intentionally lit them on fire earlier today.

Romain Le Cour, a security specialist who was in Port-au-Prince when the attacks began, said the precise objective of the gang offensive remained unclear. “But the scale of the attacks is unprecedented,” added Le Cour, a senior expert from the Geneva-based civil society group Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime.

The amount of force and weaponry used in the last five days has been astonishing. The fighting has continued for days, with the gangs persisting. Le Cour remarked on how the gang members have also circulated graphic propaganda on social media, including videos of police officers being murdered or tortured, and even sent them to the families of those killed.

Le Cour stated that this conveys a powerful and frightening message.

The leader of the Doctors Without Borders mission in Haiti, Jean-Marc Biquet, reported that the trauma center located close to Port-au-Prince’s airport was inundated with gunshot victims. A significant number of these patients were women and children who had been unintentionally shot in their extremities and abdominal areas.

“[The city centre] is a battlefield … Around the airport is really tense,” said Biquet who was unsure who currently wielded power in the city.

“Who holds the reins? In my opinion, there is no one in charge,” stated the head of MSF. “I am concerned that the authorities may capitulate and declare, ‘It’s a lost cause.’ “

Biquet mentioned Tuesday morning that if something happens, chaos could ensue.

Henry, who also acts as Haiti’s president, was out of the country when the violence began last week and has so far been unable to return. On Tuesday afternoon, the embattled politician landed in Puerto Rico’s capital, San Juan, after reportedly being denied permission to land in the Dominican Republic, which shares the Caribbean island of Hispaniola with Haiti, for reasons that were not immediately clear. The Dominican newspaper Listín Diario reported that Henry had tried to fly there from Teterboro airport in New Jersey earlier in the day.

A soldier in fatigues with a gun runs past a building

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On Thursday, there was a sudden outbreak of violence while Henry, who became president after Moïse’s assassination in 2021, was on his way to meet with Kenyan President William Ruto. This visit was intended to expedite the deployment of 1,000 Kenyan police officers to Haiti as a part of a UN-supported police force, with the goal of restoring peace to a country that experienced almost 4,800 homicides last year.

The nation of Benin in West Africa has proposed to dispatch 2,000 police personnel.

Since the assassination of President Moïse, Haiti’s gangs have significantly increased their hold on the nation, with reports stating that approximately 80% of the capital is under their influence. This was true even before the recent offensive.

Multiple analysts believe that the violent attack, resulting in the loss of at least nine lives, including four police officers, is a strategic move to deter the global community from deploying their own security forces to confront the perpetrators.

Diego Da Rin, an expert on Haiti from the International Crisis Group who recently visited the country, stated that the display of force by those in power is a way to demonstrate their abilities in potential conflicts with foreign individuals.

They are conveying a strong message to [Henry’s] temporary government stating that they have the ability to weaken the Haitian government at any given time.

“The statement is: our alliance is strong, we have the ability to overpower the Haitian security forces, and we can effectively attack on multiple fronts at the same time.”

Last week, speaking to the press in Port-au-Prince, Jimmy Chérizier, notoriously known as “Barbecue”, took credit for the assaults and proclaimed that he was heading a movement against the prime minister of Haiti, together with a coalition of other gangs.

“We have chosen to take our destiny in our own hands. The battle we are waging will not only topple Ariel’s government. It is a battle that will change the whole system,” Chérizier said in a statement.


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