In the most recent assault on Haiti’s National Police force, suspected gang members attacked a group of police officers, torching their armored vehicle and killing one officer, according to officials.
According to authorities, the incident took place late on Wednesday in Source Matelas, a neighborhood north of Port-au-Prince.
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The Haitian National Police issued a statement saying, “This criminal act is beyond reprehensible and will not go unpunished,” adding that police would not be intimidated.
In a video that has been making the rounds on social media, the police officer’s body is shown while accused gang members refer to Izo, the “5 Seconds” group’s boss, while one of them poses with the victim.
Since the killing of President Jovenel Mose in July 2021, gangs have grown so dominant that they are now thought to rule up to 80% of the metropolis and have taken over towns north of Port-au-Prince that were formerly seen as secure.
The UN reports that more than 21 police officers were slain in the first three months of 2023.
As the UN head and others push for the quick dispatch of an international military force that Haiti’s prime minister sought in October to quiet gang violence, that number has increased; three more people were slain in early April. But no one has shown a desire to be in charge of such a force.
With just 13,200 active-duty police officers servicing a population of more than 11 million, Haiti’s National Police is grossly understaffed and underfunded.
However, a number of these have been taken by heavily armed gangs. The international community has contributed police training and equipment, including armored trucks paid for by Haiti’s government.