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Pictures | Thousands of people flee gang violence in Pernier

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“I had time to take two items of clothing, but I had no money at the moment,” laments a shopkeeper who lived in Carrefour Pernier

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Since an extraordinarily violent gang offensive that occurred on Jan. 30 in Pernier, a town in Pétion-Ville, several thousand people have fled the area, according to observations made by AyiboPost.

The conflict involves two rival gangs. Fleeing the abuses of the armed men from the Kraze Baryè and 400 Mawozo gangs, most of the internally displaced persons took refuge at the Lycée Technique Joseph C. Bernard in Frère, then on the grounds of the Jean Marie Vincent high school in Caradeux.

A woman evacuating the area with a baby. Tuesday, January 30th, in front of Sainte Claire Church. | ©  Jean Feguens Regala/AyiboPost

“They burned then looted our homes,” Chrismène Paul told AyiboPost from an establishment in Frère.

“We fled without taking anything with us,” continues the woman.

A lady leaving the area in tears.

Originally from the Galèt Wòch Blanch locality, Paul moved to Pernier in November 2023 due to insecurity.

Edwidge Eustache is in a similar situation. The shopkeeper lived in Carrefour Pernier. She had to flee the area the same day.

“I had time to take two items of clothing, but I didn’t have any money at the moment,” she laments.

For the time being, this woman is staying with her sister in the town of Frère, while dozens of her neighbors are finding refuge in temporary shelters.

A family fleeing the Pernier area.

This is the case for this sixty-year-old father of five who has lived in Pernier for about 40 years. The attack surprised him in the garden, he told AyiboPost.

Since then, he has left the area to take refuge in an establishment in Frère in precarious conditions. “We don’t sleep well here because I have to curl up to get through the night,” he laments.

These women are fleeing their home in Pernier. Tuesday, January 30th.

This eruption of gang violence in Pernier comes following an attack by the 400 Mawozo in the area, specifically in Fatima.

The attack left victims and many displaced. And since then, the locality has become a battlefield for the two rival groups: 400 Mawozo from Croix-des-Bouquets and Kraze Baryè from Pernier.

In January 2023, the Kraze Baryè gang, under the leadership of Vitelhomme Innocent, destroyed the Pernier police station with heavy machinery.

Controlling national road number 8, the 400 Mawozo bandits are increasing cases of looting, extortion, and the hijacking of cargo trucks.

The Mawozo are also involved in smuggling along the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic to acquire firearms and ammunition, according to United Nations resolution 2653 (2022).

Also read: Au secours ! Le cri persistant de Petite-Rivière de l’Artibonite abandonnée aux bandits

For human rights defender, Gédéon Jean, “gangs enter into a logic of conquering territory because these places can be lucrative.”

It’s not just the economic side, it’s also a power struggle in the run-up to the new elections, continues Gédéon.

Since the expansion of gangs in the metropolitan area of Port-au-Prince, more and more people are without housing, against a backdrop of rising murders.

Read also: Photos | L’horreur n’a pas abandonné Carrefour-Feuilles !

Last year, the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH) recorded more than 8,000 direct victims of violence, an increase of 120% compared to 2022.

According to assessments by the International Organization for Migration, these attacks in Pernier caused the displacement of 1,398 people.

CARDH estimates that 800 people are taking refuge at the Lycée Joseph C. Bernard in Frère. The Lycée de Jean Marie Vincent has nearly 400 people, according to the organization which estimates the number of internally displaced people from this area at 5,000.

Most of the people who left Pernier are staying with relatives in more than twenty areas such as: Vivy Mitchel, Delmas 105, Jalousie, Meyotte, Morne Hercule, Boutilier, Puits-Blain, etc.

Residents of Route-Frères show solidarity with refugees.

As the clashes intensify in the surroundings of Pernier, leading to a massive displacement of residents into shelters with difficult and precarious sanitary conditions, there is still no assistance from the State, according to a field organization contacted by AyiboPost.

By Jérôme Wendy Norestyl  and Jean Féguens Regala

English translation by Sarah Jean.

Cover image: A family leaving the Pernier area. Wednesday, January 31st. © Jean Feguens Regala/AyiboPost


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Journaliste-rédacteur à AyiboPost, Jérôme Wendy Norestyl fait des études en linguistique. Il est fasciné par l’univers multimédia, la photographie et le journalisme.

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