January 28, 2022

Westside People

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Two journalists were killed in Haiti, another example of gang control

Two Haitian journalists were assassinated by a mob on the outskirts of the capital, Port-au-Prince, on Thursday, a new example of the security turmoil in Haiti, which is embroiled in a deep crisis six months after the assassination of President Juanel Moyes.

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The second, Radio Écoute FM boss, told AFP that Wilkuns Luisent and Amadi John Wesley had been killed in a shooting in an area controlled by armed bands.

A third journalist who came with them during their reporting was able to escape, according to the same source.

“We strongly condemn this criminal and barbaric act,” said Frankie Addis, director general of Radio Ecot FM.

The online media in a statement to Haitian officials on Thursday evening called for “everyone to accept their responsibility to create favorable security conditions.”

Haiti has been under gang control for months, and its influence extends far beyond the backward neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince.

The Laboule 12 area, which was visited by three journalists on Thursday, has been the subject of fierce fighting between several armed groups seeking to establish control.

Since one of the most powerful mobs in Haiti has not been able to fully control the national highway since June, the only way to reach the southern part of the country is to cross it.

The political crisis in this impoverished Caribbean country has been exacerbated by the assassination of President Jovnell Moss six months ago, further exacerbating the security situation.

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At least 950 abductions will be reported in Haiti by 2021, according to the Center for Human Rights Analysis and Research, an organization based in Port-au-Prince.

Impunity

The Haitian police, with fewer weapons in the face of criminal gangs with a war arsenal, have not organized large-scale operations against gangs since March 2021.

On March 12, police tried to intervene in a district of the capital that was being used as a kidnapping site by a mob.

Four policemen were killed and their bodies and equipment were never recovered.

The impunity felt by gang members also reveals the great weakness of the Haitian justice system, which is only investigated in very rare cases.

Symbolically, in April 2000, the assassination of Jean-Dominic, the most famous Haitian journalist of the time, was still pending.

In June 2021, journalist Diego Charles was killed at midnight along with an opposition political activist and thirteen people: the perpetrators of the shooting at the center of Port-au-Prince have not yet been identified by police.

Photo journalist Vladjimir Legagneur did not return from a statement in March 2018 that Martissant, a poor district south of the capital, is today completely controlled by mobs.

Police said a DNA test would be conducted a few days after his disappearance but have not yet released its results.

Investigations into the murders of two other journalists in June and October 2019 have so far failed.