According to the UN, gang members have created a "climate of terror" in Haiti's Artibonite Valley since October and shot at least 69 people. The UN office in Haiti yesterday expressed concern at the brutality of the increasing violence by the gang "Baz Gran Grif" (roughly: Big Claw) against the population.
These included murder, rape, kidnapping, extortion and destruction in four communities about 100 kilometers north of the capital Port-au-Prince. The United Nations is alarmed by the speed at which the gang is expanding into new territories.
violence outside of the capital
For years, the Caribbean state has suffered violence from criminal groups, some of whom have close ties to political actors. The situation has recently deteriorated to such an extent that the interim government, which has been in power since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in July 2021, asked for help from an armed international force - but so far this has not happened.
It is estimated that around 200 criminal groups are active in Haiti, controlling around 60 percent of Port-au-Prince. While most crimes have so far taken place in the capital, violence is now spreading to areas outside Port-au-Prince.
murders and mass rapes
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, said at the end of a visit to Haiti on February 10 that the situation there is not getting the urgent attention it deserves. The Austrian presented a report that documented 263 murders and 57 mass rapes in just one part of the huge shanty town of Cité Soleil near Port-au-Prince in the second half of last year.
People have been harassed and terrorized for months without the state being able to stop it, Turk said. "This can only be described as a living nightmare."