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March 14, 2024

15 things to know about police officer turned-gang leader, Jimmy Chérizier aka Barbecue taunting Haiti

15 things to know about police officer turned-gang leader, Jimmy Chérizier aka Barbecue tormenting Haiti

A former Haiti’s police officer turned-gang leader, Jimmy Chérizier aka Barbecue

By Biodun Busari

Haiti has been plunged into a crisis as armed gangs take over the Caribbean country and one of the leaders is a police officer-turned-gangster, Jimmy Chérizier popularly known as Barbecue.

Reports revealed that Jimmy “Barbeque” Chérizier’s forces have laid siege to Haiti’s main international airport, traded fire with troops at government sites, and sparked a mass jailbreak.

As law and order collapsed in Haiti, Prime Minister Ariel Henry resigned on Wednesday as Barbecue and other gangsters were hell-bent on plunging the country into war.

Henry’s resignation happened following the meeting of the regional leaders in Jamaica on Monday to discuss a political transition in the country.

As Haiti battles probably one of the fiercest crises in its history, this article delves into some of the information about Barbecue.

1. Barbecue was born in 1976 or 1977 in Delmas, Ouest which located in the Port-au-Prince Arrondissement and next to the slums of La Saline, Port-au-Prince.

2. Chérizier was a police officer for the Haitian National Police before becoming a gang leader.

3. Chérizier belonged to the Unité Départementale pour le maintien de l’Ordre (UDMO, “Unit for the Maintenance of Order”), a special unit within the Haitian National Police.

4. He became a gang leader in Base Delmas 6, Delmas, Ouest, perpetrating multiple large-scale massacres.

5. Barbecue is now the head of the Fòs Revolisyonè G9 an Fanmi e Alye (“Revolutionary Forces of the G9 Family and Allies”, abbreviated “G9” or “FRG9”), a federation of over a dozen Haitian gangs based in Port-au-Prince.

6. He is notorious for making public appearances in military camouflage and a beret, and addressed himself as the leader of an “armed revolution”. 

7. Considered one of the most powerful gang leaders in Haiti, he is also currently believed to be one of the country’s de facto most powerful political figures.

8. In early March 2024, the G9 staged the largest jailbreak in Haitian history and escalated attacks across the country, including an attempted siege of the Toussaint Louverture International Airport. 

9. Chérizier claimed responsibility for the attacks and stated that the goal was to capture key government institutions, overthrow Prime Minister Ariel Henry and take power in Haiti.

10. While issuing his threats, he warned that “if Ariel Henry doesn’t step down and the international community continues to support him, they will lead us directly to a civil war which will end in genocide,” an utterance that forced Henry to quit as Haitian leader.

11. While he was a police officer, Chérizier is alleged to have perpetrated the 2018 La Saline massacre, in which at least 71 people were killed and over 400 homes burnt down. 

12. He is accused of being involved in the 2017 Grande Ravine massacre which killed at least nine people, and the 2019 Bel-Air massacre. 

13. In December 2018, Chérizier was fired by the Haitian National Police.

14. In July 2022, the G9 engaged in a gang war with rival gang G-Pèp for the control of Cité Soleil, Port-au-Prince resulting in Port-au-Prince gang war resulted in at least 50 people dead.

15. Also, on 12 September 2022, during the fuel shortages part of the 2022 Haitian crisis, the G9 seized control of the Varreux fuel terminal, the main gas terminal in Port-au-Prince and one of Haiti’s main fuel terminals.

In interviews, Chérizier has likened himself to Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Fidel Castro, and even Robin Hood. He is also an admirer of Haitian dictator Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier, who ruled the country with an iron hand from 1957 to 1971.