Gangsters make life difficult for police in Haiti
FILE - In this July 26, 2021 file photo, a member of the gang led by Jimmy Cherizier, alias Barbecue, a former police officer who heads a gang coalition known as "G9 Family and Allies,¨ joins a march to demand justice for slain Haitian President Jovenel in Lower Delmas, a district of Port-au- Prince, Haiti.

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, (HCNN/CMC) — Haitian gangsters have seized at least three police vehicles, including two armoured carriers, amid a wave of gang violence that does not even spare the Caribbean country’s police officers, counting dozens of victims in their ranks.

A high-ranking police officer told HCNN that a police armoured vehicle was seized on the night of October 12 -13 by armed bandits controlling the Martissant slum area in the capital Port-au-Prince.

“An armoured vehicle and several police weapons were hijacked and are still in the hands of the criminals who are still using them to fight rival gangs,” the police source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told HCNN on Friday.

“As a police commissioner, I feel embarrassed and guilty, because I am among those who are supposed to make sure that gang violence is quelled and that security is guaranteed,” he said, noting that he has often considered submitting his resignation, but has been advised by many of his friends and allies not to do so.

One gang leader, known as Crisla, a former policeman, has claimed responsibility for the move to seize the police armoured vehicle and several weapons.

“My men and I made the move because we had learned that a group of evil people were about to attack the police, so we said we were not going to let that happen,” said Crisla in a voice message released on social media.

“Because if that had happened, those guys would have used the police materials to further terrorize the population,” stated Crisla, who says he is a protector of the Haitian people.

In an earlier statement, the gang leader had promised to return everything they took from the police, but that promise has not been kept.

Crisla has often engaged in fierce and deadly fights with a rival gang, led by Ti Lapli, over attempts to expand their respective territories.

Another feared gang – based at Canaan, a makeshift housing community set up after the 2010 earthquake – also seized, on November12 a police armoured vehicle, which they later set on fire.

“We are asking any police officer who would hear this message to alert CRO (Intelligence and Operations Center),” a policeman had said in a voice message from a hiding place.

“Tell them that we’ve been ambushed and that we need backup now. There are people throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at us. We are still resisting, but we need reinforcement now,” the police officer said then.

A spokesman for the Haitian National Police Union (known as SYNAPOHA), Lionel Lazare, said at least 50 policemen have been shot dead since the beginning of the year. The police commissioner in charge of the police academy, Harington Rigaud, was among the victims.

Crisla and several other gang leaders have been the subject of wanted notices or arrest warrants, but police officers have not been able to execute them because they are unable to set foot into the dangerous slum areas.

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