Haiti declares state of emergency amid violence, inmates on the run

March 5, 2024 8:47 am

[Source: Reuters]

Haiti’s government declared a state of emergency on Sunday evening, following violent clashes in the capital that have damaged communications and led to two prison breaks as a major gang leader seeks to oust Prime Minister Ariel Henry.

In order to restore order, the government has imposed with immediate effect a curfew throughout the West territory for a “renewable period of seventy-two hours,” the statement said.

“Between six in the evening and five in the morning on Monday 4, Tuesday 5, Wednesday 6 and this Sunday, March 3 2024,” the curfew will apply.

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Law enforcement, firefighters, ambulance drivers, health personnel and duly identified journalists would not have to comply with the curfew, the statement added.

The emergency decree follows a dramatic escalation in violence over the weekend that has paralyzed parts of the capital, damaged communications and led to two prison breaks, including one at the country’s largest prison.

The chairman of Digicel, a major telecoms provider to the Caribbean country, said that lines had been affected following days of street violence in parts of the capital.

Field teams on Sunday afternoon managed to fully restore the connection, Digicel Chairman Maarten Boute said in a post on X, thanks to the “brave technicians who worked tirelessly, in very precarious conditions to make this possible,” he added.

Heavy gunfire has caused panic in recent days after calls by gang leader Jimmy Cherizier, a former police officer, for criminal groups to unite and overthrow Henry. Cherizier heads an alliance of gangs and faces sanctions from the U.N. and the United States.