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Haiti Experiences Surge Of Gang Violence

Source: Giles Clarke / Getty

A Haitian Gang leader who is accused of destabilizing the country says oligarchs are to blame for Haiti’s unrest and that he would like to see them gone from the government.

Vitel’Homme Innocent is known as one of the most dangerous men in Haiti. The gang leader recently made the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted” list and is alleged to have a $2 million bounty on his head for kidnapping claims. 

Innocent, who is the leader of the violent gang Kraze Baryé, has been on the law’s radar for months. In December, he was sanctioned by the United Nations for extensive human rights abuses. 

According to the United Nations, the gang is linked to at least 1,660 killings and at least 438 kidnappings, including 21 children – in the first 90 days of the year alone.

Innocent is also wanted by the Haitian National Police for kidnapping for ransom, murder, rape, armed rape, vehicle theft and destruction of property.

Despite his violent nature, Innocent is still a prominent figure in Haiti. The gang leader recently sat with CNN to discuss his influence on the war-torn country and how the oligarchs have ruined Haiti’s progression.

“Our dream is to get rid of the oligarchs who prevent the country from progressing,” Innocent told CNN.

He continued, “We have to get rid of the oligarchs’ system, and we are ready to answer the justice system of our country, so that we can see where the worst evil was hidden.”

The unrest in Haiti has been going on for years, but gangs seem to be winning the fight. 

In March, groups of heavily armed gangs launched an audacious bid to seize command of the Toussaint Louverture International Airport.

The heinous attack occurred just hours after Haitian authorities implemented a nighttime curfew on March 3 in response to armed gang members successfully storming the nation’s two largest prisons and freeing thousands of inmates.

According to the Associated Press, about 98 inmates from the National Penitentiary escaped while 1,033 were set free from Croix-des-Bouquets prison, including 298 convicts. Many of the escaped inmates were on pre-trial detention for “slayings, kidnappings and other crimes,” the outlet noted.

“The police were ordered to use all legal means at their disposal to enforce the curfew and apprehend all offenders,” Finance Minister Patrick Boivert, the acting prime minister, revealed.

Gangs are believed to have established control over as much as 80% of Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital city. Prime Minister Ariel Henry journeyed to Kenya last week to seek help and financial support from officials to quell the escalating violence.

Although Vitel’Homme Innocent has been a major source of the violence, he says they are willing to put down the weapons if his gang is granted amnesty.

According to CNN, Haiti will have a transitional government by this week, but no word on how they will handle Innocent’s demands.


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