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Haiti Declares State of Emergency After Thousands of Prisoners Escape in Jailbreak

HeadlineMar 04, 2024

Haiti has declared a 72-hour state of emergency after armed groups stormed two of the country’s largest prisons, freeing as many as 4,000 inmates. The jailbreak came as Haiti’s unelected and deeply unpopular Prime Minister Ariel Henry was visiting Kenya to sign an agreement that would allow the deployment of 1,000 Kenyan police officers to Haiti as part of a U.S.-backed security plan. One of the most powerful gang leaders in Haiti, Jimmy Chérizier, who is known as Barbecue, has openly threatened to topple Ariel Henry, who has ruled Haiti with the backing of the U.S. since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in July 2021. Chérizier spoke on Friday.

Jimmy Chérizier: “We ask the Haitian National Police and the military to take responsibility and arrest Ariel Henry. Once again, the population is not our enemy; the armed groups are not your enemy. You arrest Ariel Henry for the country’s liberation. These weapons that we have are not here to hurt our brothers who come from the same milieu as us. The poor take the streets, and they trust us. These weapons are our symbol of freedom. With these weapons, we will liberate the country, and these weapons will change the country.”

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