Violent gangs could seize power in Haiti

Published 8 March 2024
- By Editorial Staff
Members of one of the heavily armed gangs trying to overthrow the Haitian government.

A state of emergency has been declared in Haiti and people are not allowed to go out at night. The criminal gangs that effectively control much of Haiti have been accused of cannibalism and ‘killing as many people as possible’.

– For instance, we have seen images of gang leaders eating people they have killed. We have seen images of people being tortured when they are kidnapped, said a journalist at the scene.

A coalition of heavily armed criminal gangs seeking to overthrow Prime Minister Ariel Henry has stormed two prisons and freed more than 4,000 prisoners – many of them convicted of serious crimes such as murder and rape.

An unknown number of police officers have been killed and 15,000 people have been forced to flee their homes. According to media reports, the gangs now control around 80 per cent of the capital, Port Au-Prince.

– There is a risk of a horror scenario in which the gangs have managed to unite. I’m afraid that Haiti could be dragged into a full-blown civil war, Haiti expert Mats Lundahl told the taxpayer-funded Swedish state broadcaster SVT.

Police officers cut by machetes

A local journalist who spoke to Britain’s Daily Express said cannibalism had also been seen on the streets of Haiti and that violence had reached “unprecedented” levels.

– Haiti is living in a total chaotic situation right now. It is total chaos everywhere, especially in the capital where I am right now.

– You also have attacks on police stations. On February 28 a police station was attacked. The officers were in there for three hours crying for help, and after that, we saw images of officers being cut by machetes being shared on social media, he continues.

According to the journalist, the gangs are armed with American weapons – but also with drones and other advanced technology.

“They want to kill as many people as possible”

– The level of violence is unprecedented. The gangs seemingly want to kill as many people as they can. They are in a fear campaign where they want to appear as murderous and as violent as possible.

– For instance, we have seen images of gang leaders eating people they have killed. We have seen images of people being tortured when they are kidnapped.

The aim was not just to create fear in the public – but to completely paralyse them mentally and clearly show that the government has lost control of Haiti. The journalist later adds that “cannibalism is not widespread, but definitely an indication of the worsening situation. It definitely happens on a few occasions”.

Prime Minister Henry has reportedly left the country and his whereabouts are unknown.