Haiti PM condemns killing of police officers in gang ambush

Haiti’s new prime minister on Monday condemned the gang-related killings of three police officers in a patrol ambush in the capital, controlled by gang leader Jimmy “Barbeque” Cherizier.

Armed men under Cherizier ambushed a patrol from the police’s anti-gang unit in Delmas 18 on Sunday, setting the vehicle on fire, according to police reports. Two officers died at the scene, and while two were evacuated by reinforcements, one succumbed to injuries at the hospital.

Prime Minister Garry Conille, who was sworn in this month and has yet to install his cabinet after succeeding Ariel Henry, promised state aid for the victims’ families.

“This barbaric act is a direct attack on the security and stability of the nation,” Conille said in a video address. “I send heartfelt condolences to the families of these officers who are gone along with their colleagues and friends.”

Conille’s statement followed a brief hospitalization on Saturday for what his office described as “a slight illness.”

The police union, SYNAPOHA, called for more than just words, demanding the return of the victims’ bodies. Unverified videos on social media, purportedly filmed by gang members, show footage of the charred patrol truck and seized firearms.

Cherizier later released a video on social media claiming the police had gone rogue and entered lower Delmas to kill. He challenged the police to recover the captured firearms.

Meanwhile, Kenyan President William Ruto announced on Sunday that a long-awaited deployment of Kenyan police officers, set to lead a U.N.-sanctioned international force to support Haitian police, should arrive within one or two weeks, as reported by African news outlets. The timeline for the arrival of additional troops from Benin, Chad, Bangladesh, and the Caribbean remains unclear.

The international force was initially requested by Haiti’s former government in 2022 but has faced significant delays. Since then, gangs have increased their control over the capital, displacing hundreds of thousands and plunging millions into hunger. SYNAPOHA has warned this year of a rapidly shrinking and under-resourced police force.

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