Haitian Prime Minister forced to flee official ceremony by armed gang members

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Haiti: Prime Minister Ariel Henry, along with his security force, were forced to flee an official ceremony in the capital by heavily armed gang members who then marched in the delegation’s place.  

The annual ceremony in the – Pont Rouge region of Port-au-Prince marks where ‘Dessalines’ was assassinated in the year 1806 after defeating a Napoleonic army and abolishing slavery in the new Black republic.

On Sunday, the prime minister, Ariel Henry, with his security force, was trying to reach – Pont Rouge so as to lay a floral wreath but were sent back by armed gang members as they started firing. 

The video recorded shows official SUVs leaving Pont Rouge amid the crackle of gunfire as other figures fled the scene on foot.  

Later on, pictures were revealed Cherizier, a former policeman and notorious head of the G9 & Family gang alliance, dressed in a white suit with a shirt and a wing collar(which is a dress code for officials on national holidays) – with his armed followers making the floral offering. 

Among armed supporters of Cherizier were a number wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the face of the late Haitian president – Jovenel Moïse, who was assassinated earlier this year, and the slogan – “Justice for Jovenel.”  

According to the US Treasury website, “Throughout the years of 2018 and 2019, Cherizier led armed groups in coordinated, brutal attacks in Port-au-Prince neighbourhoods. 

Most recently, in the month of May 2020, Cherizier led armed gangs in a 5-day attack in multiple Port-au-Prince neighbourhoods in which civilians were killed and homes were set on fire.”  

Rising gang violence in Haiti is a serious issue and is worsening the current condition of the island country. A few days back, 17 US missionaries along with their family members were kidnapped from the capital city by gang members. FBI is searching for the missing missionaries. 

President Jovenel Moise was killed on 7 July 2021 at his own residence amid security, in which his wife was also injured. Following his demise, there was a state of emergency imposed as people came on the streets to protest, seeking justice for their President.