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Haiti. The head of the Barbecue gang coalition, Cherizier, announces the overthrow of Prime Minister Ariel Henry

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Jimmy “Barbecue” Cherizier, leader of a coalition of gangs that control 80 percent of Haiti’s capital, announced Friday that he plans to overthrow Prime Minister Ariel Henry. There is an intense exchange of fire in some districts of the city, Reuters reported on Friday.

Unrest in the city of Port-au-Prince escalated this week when Prime Minister Haiti Ariel Henry went to Kenyawhich agreed to take command of the mission to stabilize Haiti, financed mainly by USA.

– The fight will last as long as necessary. We will continue to fight against Ariel Henry. To avoid accidental victims, keep children at home, gang coalition leader Jimmy “Barbecue” Cherizier said Friday during a press conference.

Intense exchange of fire continues in some districts of Port-au-PrinceJohnson Sabin/PAP/EPA

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Gangs in Haiti, which have long grown in strength taking advantage of the chaos that engulfed the country after the great earthquake and assassination of President Jovenel Moise in 2021, are terrorizing much of its territory.

Cherizier, a former policeman, announced in September 2023 that he intended to overthrow the current authorities and that the fight against the government would take place “with weapons” and by all possible means. He also declared that the international community had no right to defend Henry, who heads the interim government established after the president’s assassination.

Military mission to Haiti

Prime Minister Ariel Henry has meanwhile had to call on the international community to send military aid as the country descends into complete chaos. Haitian gangs are probably the best armed criminal organization in Latin America and, given the helplessness of the Haitian state, much more efficient and effective in their operations, experts from UN.

In October 2023, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution that authorized a military mission “not officially representing the UN” to operate in Haiti. Kenya is the only country that has agreed to take command of such an operation and intends to send a thousand police officers to Port-au-Prince, to be joined by contingents from other countries.

Main photo source: Johnson Sabin/PAP/EPA

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