Suspected gang members set fire to a court in Haiti

suspected gang members they set fire to a court near the Haitian capital Tuesday morning, in a new attack on the country’s battered judicial system.

Roosevelt Zamor, prosecutor for the Croix-des-Bouquets region, told The Associated Press that important documents were set on fire and that authorities closed the building, located northeast of Port-au-Prince.

The fire occurred in a region controlled by the 400 Mawozo Gang, to which the authorities attribute the murder of a police inspector on Sunday in a church in Croix-des-Bouquets and the burning of the temple.

“The police have worked day and night to stabilize the community,” Zamor said in a brief interview.

A video posted on social networks showed alleged gang members surrounding the police officer while showing their IDs to the camera and cutting off the officer’s hands and shooting him. The alleged leader of the gang says the attack was in response to the death of motorcyclists associated with the group at the hands of the agent and threatened to kill another police officer.

The courthouse fire comes a month after another gang attacked the court of first instance in the center of the capital, looting the place and burning case documents and evidence. The gang continues to retain control of part of that court.

Gangs in the Haitian capital and other parts of the country have become more powerful since the assassination on July 7, 2021 of President Jovenel Moïse. Kidnappings have skyrocketed and increasingly violent turf disputes have shut down major highways to the north and south of the country.

The UN has warned that the National Police needs immediate help to combat crime and violence, at a time when the United States and other countries continue to provide training and resources to help strengthen an agency that has only 12,800 active police officers, in a country of more than 11 million people.

Police seek to curb recent gang violence in the capital’s slum of Cite de Soleil, where the UN says that more than 470 people have been killed, injured or missing in the space of a week. It is estimated that another 3,000 people have been forced to leave their homes in the neighborhood.

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