Spread the love

Haitian gang leader raises specter of “civil war”

Photo: Clarens Siffroy Agence France-Presse “If Ariel Henry does not resign, if the international community continues to support him, we are heading straight towards a civil war,” gang leader Jimmy Chérizier said on Tuesday.

Amélie Bottollier-Depois – Agence France-Presse to the United Nations


  • Americas

The UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting on Wednesday on the new escalation of violence in Haiti, where a gang leader has assured that a bloody “civil war” will take place if the first Minister Ariel Henry does not resign.

Criminal gangs, which control the majority of the capital Port-au-Prince as well as the roads leading to the rest of the territory, have in recent days attacked strategic sites in the poor Caribbean country: the police academy, the airport and several prisons, from which thousands of inmates were able to escape.

“If Ariel Henry does not resign, if the international community continues to support him, we are heading straight towards a civil war which will lead to genocide,” threatened influential Haitian gang leader Jimmy on Tuesday Chérizier, nicknamed “Barbecue”, during a press interview, surrounded by armed and hooded men.

“Either Haiti becomes a paradise for all of us, or a hell for all of us,” continued this 46-year-old former police officer, placed under UN sanctions and considered one of the most influential gang leaders.

Armed groups say they want to overthrow the prime minister in power since the assassination in 2021 of President Jovenel Moïse and who should have left office at the beginning of February.

Absent for several days from Haiti after a trip to Kenya, Ariel Henry landed in Puerto Rico on Tuesday, the spokesperson for the governor of this American Caribbean territory told AFP.

Also read

  • Haiti declares state of emergency and establishes curfew
  • Port-au-Prince “paralyzed” after gang attacks on prisons
  • Gangs attack Port-au-Prince police academy


The US State Department announced Monday that the Prime Minister was on his way back to Port-au-Prince, but according to the Haitian media Radio Télé Métronome, he had not been able to land in the capital due to the security situation at the airport.

In response to the violence, the government declared a state of emergency and a three-day night curfew renewable until Wednesday inclusive, while Ariel Henry was in Nairobi to try to put finally on track the future multinational force intended to help the overwhelmed Haitian police.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called this week for “urgent action”, particularly to finance the multinational mission which must “prevent the country from plunging even further into chaos”.

Its representative in the country, Maria Isabel Salvador, will provide an update on the situation by videoconference on Wednesday during the closed meeting of the Security Council.

The head of UNICEF Catherine Russell affirmed on X that the violence in Haiti was “spiraling out of control”.

“The world must not remain impassive. It’s time to act,” she pleaded.

Multinational mission

Due to violence, political crisis and years of drought, 5.5 million Haitians, almost half the population, are in need of humanitarian assistance. But the UN appeal for $674 million for 2024 is only 2.5% funded.

And the new escalation in recent days has forced 15,000 people to flee their homes in Port-au-Prince, according to the UN, which has started to distribute food and basic necessities to them.< /p>

After months of procrastination, the UN Security Council finally gave its agreement in October for the sending to Haiti of a multinational mission led by Kenya which wants to send 1000 police officers. But its deployment is still pending, in particular due to a decision by the Kenyan courts.

To speed up implementation, Nairobi and Port-au-Prince signed a bilateral agreement on Friday, but no date has been given for the arrival of the mission.

At the end of February, five other countries, including Benin with more than 1,500 men, had officially notified their intention to participate in the mission on the ground.

Kidnappings, snipers on roofs, sexual violence used to instil fear… At the beginning of January, Antonio Guterres said he was “dismayed” by the “staggering level” of gang violence ravaging the country, noting that the number of homicides had more than doubled in 2023, with nearly 5,000 people killed, including 2,700 civilians.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116