Gang violence intensifies in Haiti capital, forcing hospital evacuation
Patients at the Centre Hospitalier Fontaine in Port-au-Prince were rushed out as gunshots rang out nearby
Port-au-Prince — An increase in gang violence in Haiti’s capital this week after the death of a powerful gang leader has led to persistent gun battles that forced a hospital to evacuate all patients on Wednesday.
Workers at the Centre Hospitalier Fontaine in Port-au-Prince’s gritty Cite Soleil neighbourhood, rushed patients out as gunshots rang out nearby and fires were set by gang members, according to hospital staff.
Reuters witnessed hospital personnel carefully carrying out newborns in what appeared to be incubators from one exit, including one connected to an oxygen concentrator.
“There were bullets shot at a glass door of the hospital near the maternity ward,” said Jean-Baptiste Loubents, a doctor at the medical facility. “We decided that in such a situation we needed to evacuate the patients.”
A hospital director said 27 patients were evacuated on Wednesday, plus another 19 children from the facility’s on-site daycare centre.
The latest bout of violence to strike the area, known locally as Pierre 6, followed the death of local gang leader Iscar Andris last Sunday, a founder of the notorious G9 gang alliance. Over the past few years, G9 has battled rival GPep.
The G9 alliance is now led by Jimmy “Barbecue” Cherizier, who in October was slapped with UN sanctions.
The distribution of fuel from the nearby Varreux port terminal has also been temporarily suspended, with no trucks able to transport petrol, diesel or kerosene on Tuesday, according to a post from the facility on X.
In 2022, the terminal, Haiti’s largest, was closed for nearly seven weeks due to a G9-led blockade.
Haiti has been plunged into growing instability and gang violence since the 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moise.
In October, the UN Security Council authorised the deployment of a multinational police to Haiti to boost the outgunned local force, but the fate of the mission is unclear due to resistance from its would-be leader Kenya.
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