Haitian prime minister flees northern city after shootout between security, armed group

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Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry reportedly fled the city of Gonaïves after a shootout over the weekend between his security forces and an armed group that had warned him not to come there.

Local media said that Henry left the northern city after the violence resulted in one person’s death and the injury of two others, according to The Associated Press.

The shooting occurred on Saturday, after people left the cathedral Saint-Charles-de-Boromé following a mass celebrating the anniversary of Haiti’s independence from France, the AP reported. 

Haiti’s National Police confirmed to the AP on Monday that the area had been secured. 

The prime minister’s office told the AP that “bandits and terrorists” carried out the attack, saying it has issued arrest warrants after the group attempted to kill Henry. The office accused the gunmen of hiding behind walls, surrounding the church and threatening the local bishop.  

“Today, our enemies, the enemies of the Haitian people, are the terrorists who do not hesitate to use violence to kill people with all their might, or to kidnap, take away their freedom, to rape them. And do everything for money,” the prime minister said in a tweet on Saturday.

The incident follows the assassination of Haiti’s former President Jovenel Moïse in July 2021. Henry has since attempted to create a coalition to run the country ahead of general elections set to take place in the middle of the year.

Tags Ariel Henry Assassination of Jovenel Moïse Haiti Jovenel Moise Presidents of Haiti

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