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Haiti gang members beg for their lives as mob kills them

By Sarah May
|
April 26, 2023

In a horrifying example of the rampant violence that has gripped parts of Haiti in recent months, video footage has captured an incident on Monday in which a group of 13 gang members were stoned and burned alive by a mob of vigilantes in Port-au-Prince, despite their pleas for mercy, as the Daily Mail reports.

The savage scene is emblematic of the unrest that has taken hold in response to a growing sense of lawlessness in the area, where gangs have asserted control over a significant portion of the city since the summer of 2021, when President Jovenel Moise was assassinated.

Harrowing Scene Unfolds

According to the Associated Press, Haiti National Police reported that officers conducted a traffic stop of a minibus suspected of containing contraband, ultimately confiscating weapons from the individuals inside.

The statement from police did not provide details on exactly how the crowd nearby managed to seize control of the suspects, but it was not long until the true brutality of what was taking place was clear for all to see.

A witness explained to the AP that a group of individuals who were not part of the group of suspects somehow wrestled the gang members away from law enforcement officers and began to savagely beat and stone them.

Then, the mob piled tires on top of the gangsters, doused them in gasoline, and set everything – and everyone – alight, burning the suspects to death in the street.

Citizens Fighting Back

According to the Mail, the group of suspects taken from the minibus were thought to have been members of the “Kraze Barye” gang and had been engaging in mayhem and gunfire since the early morning hours.

Gang members had reportedly barged into residential zones within the city, attacking people inside their homes and looting their valuables.

Exasperated by the violence and instability that have overwhelmed the city, one resident explained, “If the gangs come to invade us, we will defend ourselves, we too have our own weapons, we have our machetes, we will take their weapons, we will not flee.”

Clearly expecting things to get worse before they get better, the same resident declared, “Mothers who want to protect their children can send them elsewhere.”

International Concerns Grow

As Fox News reported late last month, the facts on the ground in Haiti have worsened to such a degree that the United States, Canada, as well as the United Nations have begun devoting heightened attention to the situation.

A recent U.N. report on the topic put things in stark terms, saying, “With the high number of fatalities and increasing areas under the control of armed gangs, insecurity in the capital has reached levels comparable to countries in armed conflict,” adding, “[t]he people of Haiti continue to suffer one of the worst human rights crises in decades and a major humanitarian emergency.”

The reasons underlying the deterioration – and the attendant rise of violent gangs – include a number of natural disasters dating back to 2010, an economic collapse, COVID-19, and the aforementioned assassination of the country's president, as the outlet noted.

Jack Brewer, founder of an aid organization that has had a presence in Haiti for over a decade, said simply, “The gangs control everybody. Kidnapping, drug trafficking, human trafficking – that's their business.”

Humanitarian Crisis Spreads

As evidence of the aforementioned humanitarian catastrophe spurred by the conflict between violent gangs and a citizenry determined to fight back, renowned medical charity Doctors Without Borders recently made the difficult decision to temporarily shutter its Port-au-Prince hospital facility out of concern for its staff, as the BBC reported last month.

According to the outlet, one particularly impoverished locale on the outskirts of the capital city is now left with just a single private hospital and one of the aid group's other facilities, which has also been forced to reduce its operations due to the growing risks of violence.

One of the organization's medical advisers, Vincent Harris, said of the current state of affairs, “We are living scenes of warfare just meters from the establishment. Our hospital has not been directly targeted, but we have been a collateral victim of the fighting since the hospital found itself on the frontline.”

Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry has sought the deployment of some sort of international assistance force capable of aiding police in battling back against the gangs, but no nation has yet to step forward in a leadership capacity for such an endeavor, leaving those in Port-au-Prince and beyond in a seemingly indefinite state of abject chaos and fear.