Haitian police unions plead for help after attack on main prison

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PORT-AU-PRINCE — Armed groups were closing successful connected Haiti’s largest situation connected Saturday night, defying constabulary forces who called for thief aft days of gunfire successful parts of nan superior arsenic a awesome pack leader seeks to topple Prime Minister Ariel Henry.

Two of nan Caribbean country’s main constabulary unions called for assistance to extremity inmates, galore considered to beryllium high-profile criminals, from fleeing nan National Penitentiary successful Port-Au-Prince.

It was unclear really galore had fled nan prison, a number that newspaper Gazette Haiti said was “significant.” Some detainees were reluctant to time off en masse for fearfulness of being killed successful crossfire, sources told Reuters.

Police officers assigned to nan situation had vacated nan premises connected Saturday, according to reports by section media AyiboPost.

The authorities of Haiti, nan poorest state successful nan Americas, did not remark connected nan business connected Saturday.

Heavy gunfire has caused panic successful caller days aft calls by pack leader Jimmy Cherizier, a erstwhile constabulary officer, for criminal groups to merge and overthrow Henry. Cherizier, besides known arsenic Barbecue, heads an confederation of gangs and faces sanctions from nan U.N. and nan U.S.

The penitentiary, built to clasp 700 prisoners, held 3,687 arsenic of February past year, according to authorities group RNDDH. A 2017 study by nan group warned of superior overcrowding astatine nan prison, which is said to suffer from mediocre constabulary staffing.

The situation onslaught follows reports connected Friday that equipped men had attempted to return power of nan capital’s main instrumentality port, causing postulation disruptions, and gangs threatened to onslaught much of nan city’s constabulary stations.

Cherizier this week warned locals to support children from going to schoolhouse to “avoid collateral damages” arsenic unit surged.

Prime Minister Henry, who came to powerfulness aft nan assassination of nan country’s past president, Jovenel Moise, successful 2021, had antecedently pledged to measurement down by early February. He later said information must first beryllium re-established successful bid to guarantee free and adjacent elections.