Haiti: These are the 5 Main Armed Groups Fighting for Control – Video Report

While the name Jimmy ‘Barbecue’ Chérizier has become a fixture in international media covering the ongoing violence in Haiti, the former police officer turned gang leader is only one of five men currently controlling the top armed forces in the country.

1. Jimmy ‘Barbecue’ Chérizier

Now the leader of the G9 Family, Chérizier was removed from the police force in 2018 for his alleged involvement in several crimes, including a massacre in La Saline that left 71 dead. The gang leader was also allegedly allied to Haitian President Jovenel Moïseh, who was assassinated in 2021.

As arguably the most influential figure in Haiti’s gang war, Chérizier has amassed immense control over a significant area of the country’s capital, Port-au-Prince, as well as its surrounding area. While the ex-cop portrays himself as a freedom fighter leading Haitians against a corrupt government, the G9 Family and their allies have been connected to various crimes in the country, including the freeing of thousands of inmates and preventing supplies from entering the country.

However, Chérizier has reportedly organised the distribution of food and supplies to some residents, making him popular among some Haitians.

2. Gabriel ‘Ti Gabriel’ Jean-Pierre

While Chérizier was allegedly working with the ruling Haitian government before the assassinations of Moiseh, the second of five men leading Haiti’s main armed groups, Gabriel ‘Ti Gabriel’ Jean-Pierre, was reportedly allied to the opposition. Jean-Pierre is the leader of the G-Pep gang and once a staunch enemy of Chérizier and the G9, who actively sought control of G9 territory.

Despite both gang leaders seeking control of Port-au-Prince, Chérizier and Jean-Pierre combined their armed forces in 2023 as Haiti’s government sought international military assistance with the local gangs. Together, the G9 Family and G-Pep formed Viv Ansanm, “living together,” which further plunged the country into chaos, with the group working together to attack the local police and prisons as a means to deter the deployment of a foreign armed force from Kenya.

3. Vitel’Homme Innocent

Despite Chérizier garnering significant media attention amid his growing influence and involvement in crime, Vitel’Homme Innocent is the only Haitian gang leader so far included on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) ‘Ten Most Wanted Fugitives’ list. Innocent is the leader of Kraze Baryé and was added to the list in 2023 for his alleged involvement in the kidnapping and killing of U.S. citizens in Haiti.

Innocent is believed to have orchestrated the kidnapping of Christian missionaries in 2021, which was carried out by another gang. He was also indicted for the October 2022 kidnapping of Jean Franklin and Marie Odette Franklin, during which Odette was shot and killed. Additionally, Innocent and Kraze Barye have been tied to a number of other kidnappings in Haiti.

4. Renel ‘Ti Lapli’ Destina

Destina runs the Grand Ravine gang and controls large stretches of the highway that connects the capital to southern Haiti. In addition to using highways to extort truck drivers, Destina’s gang is said to regularly conduct hijackings and transport contraband through their territory.

Destina also claimed responsibility for the 2020 kidnapping of Wolf Hall, the president of the Titi Loto & T-Sound Lottery organization. In regards to his relationship with other gangs in Haiti, Destina refused to be a part of Chérizier’s Ansanm alliance and was reportedly paid by Haitian opposition parties to attack G9 in 2021 after agreeing to a ceasefire.

5. Johnson ‘Izo’ Andre

While Destina refused to ally himself with the G9, he is said to be a close ally to Andre, who is the leader of the 5 Segonn gang. Like Chérizier, Andre is not afraid of a little publicity and frequently uploads rap videos on YouTube, even acquiring a plaque for gaining 100,000 followers on the platform.

Following the controversy that was sparked by his presence on YouTube, the platform later banned the armed group leader. However, Andre uses other accounts to post his music.

In his music, Andre actively criticises the Haitian government for the country’s ongoing issues. However, the 5 Segonn leader has been connected to the trafficking of weapons to other gangs and was sanctioned by the European Union last year for rape and kidnapping, among other crimes.

Watch the video report below.

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