Haiti declares state of emergency

72-Hour State of Emergency Declared: Haiti has declared a 72-hour state of emergency following the violent incidents where armed gangs attacked two major prisons in the country.

Prison Break and Escaped Inmates: During the attacks, hundreds of inmates managed to escape from the main prison in Port-au-Prince. The facility was left wide open, with no guards in sight. Plastic sandals, clothing, and electric fans were strewn across empty concrete patios that are normally overcrowded.

Deadly Violence Across the Capital: The prison break sparked deadly violence across the capital. Bodies with gunshot wounds were found at the entrance to the National Penitentiary. In another neighborhood, the bloodied corpses of two men were discovered with their hands tied behind their backs.

Government’s Response: Haiti’s government urged calm and vowed to find the escaped prisoners and apprehend those responsible for the criminal acts. The communication ministry emphasized the need to restore public order.

Gang Federation Leader Claims Responsibility: Jimmy Chérizier, a former elite police officer known as “Barbecue,” claimed responsibility for the surge in attacks. He stated that the goal was to capture Haiti’s police chief and government ministers and prevent Prime Minister Ariel Henry’s return.

Inmate Count and Overcrowding: The prison, originally built to hold 700 prisoners, had 3,687 inmates as of February last year. Sources suggest that an “overwhelming” majority of inmates had escaped during the attack.

Ongoing Crisis: This incident adds to Haiti’s downward spiral of violence, occurring while Prime Minister Ariel Henry is abroad seeking support for an UN-backed security force to stabilize the country.

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