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Curfew extended in Haiti's capital as gang violence continues to escalate

National Police stand guard outside the empty National Penitentiary after a small fire inside in downtown Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Haiti, Thursday, March 14, 2024.   -  
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Odelyn Joseph/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved


The curfew in Ouest, one of Haiti's ten departments has been extended until March 23, authorities said Wednesday (Mar. 20).

Gang violence continues to escalate in the south-central department which hosts the jurisdictional seat of the capital city.

The escalating violence and unrest have severely disrupted daily life in Port-au-Prince.

The turmoil has left at least dozens dead, displacing thousands who seek refuge wherever they can find it.

"Some people who have no choice but to flee their home, some of them go into the school, the public school, to use them for shelter. And some hospitals, the main hospital in Port-au-Prince, is not really operational from our visit. The hospital is like empty. There are no nurses, there are no doctors to take care of patients and the patients don't go to the main hospital of Port-au-Prince to look for care," China Global Television Network (CGTN) reporter Wilner Bossou said.

The violence has deepened Haiti's political crisis and prompted the Prime Minister to pledge that he will resign, a key demand of the gangs.

Since late February, armed gangs have attacked public institutions including the capital's police stations and the international airport which remains closed.

During the curfew and state of emergency imposed in early March, “the police are ordered to use all legal means at their disposal" to enforce order.

Armed groups have disrupted fuel supplies, preventing fuel trucks from entering the strategic Varreux fuel terminal in Haiti's capital and leaving gas stations deserted.

"As for the gas station, for the past two weeks, there was a gas shortage, which led multiple people, the population to bring cans, so they can find gas to stock in order to cope with the gas shortage. This is the situation today in Port-au-Prince, the capital, which is under attack every day. There is no day passed without listening or hearing some heavy, heavy, heavy attack and heavy guns shootings,"  Bossou reported.

Since the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in July 2021, the grip of gangs and criminal groups has tightened. Haiti Prime minister had pledged to pass on the baton on February 7 this year but elections failed to materialize, leading to social unrest.

Henry announced on March 12 that he would resign once a transitional presidential council is created.

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