Haiti’s Prime Minister Unable to Re-enter Country as Gangs Threaten Civil War

As the crisis in Haiti continues to escalate, gangs have been releasing thousands of inmates from prisons and seizing control of the country’s international airports. Haiti’s prime minister, Ariel Henry, is said to be unable to re-enter the country amid threats from gangs who have demanded his resignation under the threat of civil war.

Henry took over leadership of the country following the death of Prime Minister Jovenel Moïse, who was assassinated in 2021. Henry’s position as prime minister was made under a deal in agreement with the opposition, and he should have stepped down from the post in February to make way for the first government elections the country has had since 2016.

According to reports, the prime minister is now facing pressure from local gangs as well as the American Government to step aside. Haiti’s latest state of unrest arose during Henry’s visit to Kenya.

While there, the embattled leader signed a bilateral accord to pave the way for a possible multinational force to help restore security in Haiti. Speaking on Newzroom Afrika, Haitian journalist Harold Isaac shared that the trip was viewed as a provocation to the gangs and seemingly triggered the mass jailbreaks.

The leader of the ‘G9’ gang alliance, former police officer Jimmy ‘Barbecue’ Cherizier, has promised civil war if Henry does not resign.

“If Ariel Henry doesn’t resign, if the international community continues to support him, we’ll be heading straight to a civil war that will lead to genocide,” Cherizier warned.

Isaac went on to share that Henry initially tried to re-enter Haiti via its neighbouring country, the Dominican Republic. However, Henry was forced to fly to Puerto Rico after his plane was denied authorisation to land in the Dominican Republic.

Prime Minister Henry has appealed to the international community to aid the country in the fight against the gangs. But as the American Government has denied a request to intervene and it is not clear when or if Kanya will send troops, it is up to local Haitian authorities, who have so far been outnumbered, to fight the gangs.

Haiti is currently under a American Level 4: Do Not Travel Advisory that has been in place since July 27, 2023, due to kidnapping, crime, civil unrest, and poor health care infrastructure.

Learn more in the reports below.

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