March 16, 2024

Police launch operation in Haiti capital against ‘Barbecue’ gang

Police launch operation in Haiti capital against ‘Barbecue’ gang

Police in Haiti have conducted an operation in a capital neighborhood controlled by the notorious gang leader Jimmy Cherizier, known as “Barbecue,” that left several criminals dead, an official said Saturday.

National police units entered the Delmas neighborhood Friday evening with the aim of unblocking a road, said Lionel Lazarre of the Haitian police union.

Several “bandits” were killed, he said, without providing more details.

Another operation was underway Saturday morning as law enforcement officers attempted to regain control of the capital’s main port, where gang members had looted several containers, a source at the port told AFP.

The port has been shut since March 7 because of the violence.

Haitians have been on edge in recent days awaiting the naming of a transitional governing body meant to restore stability to the impoverished country, wracked by gang violence and largely isolated from the outside world.

Some are hoping a transitional council can fill the void left by departing Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who is leaving amid pressure from an offensive by gangs that control 80 percent of the capital.

Yet many have decried the pending establishment of a transitional council, a move supported by Caribbean regional body CARICOM, the United Nations and the United States.

The country has a long, brutal history of foreign interventions, from a 20-year American occupation in the early 1900s to a deadly cholera outbreak linked to a UN peacekeeping mission in the 2010s.