According to the mayor, gang members have burned down homes and killed at least 12 people in a town close to the capital of Haiti.

Several days ago the gangsters were forced out from the town of Cabaret, north of the capital Port-au-Prince, by the police and residents but they returned and attacked, said Joseph Jeanson Guillaume on Wednesday, Nov. 30.

“This morning we found several charred bodies,” Guillaume said.

Powerful gangs that have been focusing on Cabaret for months are in charge of a large portion of Haiti.

As the town is located along a major road, the attacks on it hamper trade and traffic, according to the mayor.

The assassination of President Jovenel Moise in July 2021 led to increased political unrest and ongoing economic difficulties.

Due to the unrest, gangs grew more powerful and in control, and many of people fled the nation.

According to the United Nations, the police force has 13,000 policemen as of September, which indicates that there is only one police officer for every 1,000 citizens.

“Nearly 96,000 people have been displaced by gangs in the capital alone,” Al Jazeera’s Prue Lewarne reported from Port-Au-Prince.

Residents of the capital's Cite Soleil neighborhood who had been displaced said they lacked food, water, and a place to sleep. Lewarne said that approximately 19,000 citizens of Cite Soleil are suffering from severe starvation, according to the UN.

Ulrika Richardson, the resident and humanitarian coordinator for the UN in Haiti, reported that 195 killings and 102 kidnappings were reported in October, nearly three per day.

According to Richardson, armed gangs in Port-au-Prince are employing “sexual violence, including rape … to instill fear and to punish and to terrorize the local populations.” These gangs hold control of about 60% of the city's territory.

Earlier this year, it was reported by UN officials that the blockade of a significant fuel terminal in Haiti by gangsters, has resulted in catastrophic hunger on the island, with more than four million people experiencing severe insecurity and more than 19,000 others suffering from famine.

Haiti publicly asked foreign assistance in October to support it in regaining control, but nothing has come of the appeal.

Haiti Kidnapping Case Rep. Pic
This is a representational image. Rick Shaw/Unsplash.

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