US embassy convoy attacked in Haiti
A US embassy convoy was attacked in Haiti on Monday, according to a senior US official and a State Department spokesperson.
A Haitian driver was slightly injured but no embassy staff were hurt, the official said.
“Armed individuals fired shots at the Haitian National Police vehicles, US Embassy vehicles, and Haitian commercial vehicles this morning,” the State Department spokesperson said.
“No embassy personnel were injured,” they said. “One Haitian commercial driver accompanying the convoy was injured with non-life-threatening injuries.”
“We do not have any additional information at this time,” the spokesperson said.
A security source in Haiti, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak, confirmed that a US embassy convoy was attacked by the 400 Mawozo gang Monday.
The attack is the latest incident in a country overtaken by violent gangs and comes a year after the nation’s serving President Jovenel Moise was murdered. Port-au-Prince was the site of brutal gang battles this summer that saw whole neighborhoods set aflame, displacing thousands of families and trapping others in their homes, afraid to leave even in search of food and water.
Late last month a Haitian politician, Eric Jean Baptiste was shot dead outside his home and the number of Haitians displaced by recent gang-related violence in the capital has tripled in the past five months, the United Nations International Organization for Migration (IOM) said last month.
The IOM report said more than 113,000 people were internally displaced from Port-au-Prince between June and August this year, with nearly 90,000 of them due to “urban violence linked to inter-gang, gang-police, and social conflicts.”
Criminals still control or influence parts of the country’s most populous city, and kidnappings for ransom threaten residents’ day-to-day movements. In recent weeks, demonstrators in several cities called for Prime Minister Ariel Henry’s resignation in the face of high fuel prices, soaring inflation and unchecked crime.
Last month, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned what he called an “absolutely nightmarish situation” in Haiti with gangs blocking the movement of fuel and other materials in the Port-au-Prince harbor. The country is facing a humanitarian crisis, while a cholera outbreak has also left dozens dead.
Guterres has urged the international community to consider deploying forces to the country to address growing humanitarian and security crises in the country.
Biden administration official are working with “capitals around the world to discuss the potential for a mission endorsed by the UN Security Council under Chapter VII,” State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said last week, but the makeup of any such mission remains unclear.
“The status quo remains untenable. It remains untenable for the Haitian people. We hope to see continued improvement in the humanitarian situation. The actions of the Haitian National Police may lead to further improvements. But there continue to be longer-term challenges that an enabling force authorized by the UN Security Council would be able to help address,” Price said.