MSF suspends work in Haiti hospital after armed gang executes patient
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, (AFP) — International aid group Doctors Without Borders said Thursday it was suspending work at a medical centre in the Haitian capital after an armed group pulled a critically ill patient from an ambulance and shot him dead in the street.
The attack took place Tuesday near Turgeau Emergency Center in central, gang-ridden Port-au-Prince, the group said in a news release.
As two ambulances left the centre with patients onboard, including a man recently admitted in critical condition, around 10 armed individuals appeared and blocked the vehicles.
After firing shots into the air and inspecting the interior of the ambulances, they ordered “the second ambulance to reverse while they pulled the patient from the first,” Doctors Without Borders, also known as MSF, said.
The armed group then beat the man before shooting him several times at close range, then fleeing the scene.
“MSF remains one of the last international organisations to provide health care in the Haitian capital and cannot accept that its ambulances are violently attacked and patients shot dead in the street,” MSF head of mission Benoit Vasseur said in the news release.
The Turgeau Emergency Center would be closed “indefinitely” while MSF conducts a security analysis, the group said, adding that it would continue providing medical care at other sites in Port-au-Prince.
The Turgeau centre treats 80 to 100 patients per day.
Violent armed gangs have forced several medical centers to close in recent years in Port-au-Prince.
Rampant gang violence is just one of the challenges facing the poorest state in the Americas, whose political, economic and public health systems are in tatters.
So far in 2023, more than 8,000 people have been killed, injured or kidnapped in Haiti according to the UN human rights office — far surpassing the figures for the whole of 2022.
The UN estimates that almost 80 per cent of the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area is either under the influence of or directly controlled by armed gangs.
Amid the crisis, the UN Security Council gave the go-ahead in early October for a Kenya-led mission to help the overwhelmed Haitian police.
A UN official has said she hopes the multinational security force will be able to deploy in the first quarter of next year.