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The best-known gangs in Haiti have capsized peace in that country for years

Violence has taken over the streets of Haiti to the point that among themselves they feel insecure of their compatriots when they move from their hometowns to other areas with less incidence of gangs.

It is these groups who have the citizens of that country in anxiety, as well as the Dominicanswith whom they share the island, and other foreigners who visit Haiti for work, religious, commercial or tourist reasons.

In the neighboring nation there are more than 200 bands and gangs that are looking for, through the use of weapons, kidnapping and robbery, imposing their own law, controlling the streets, weapons, commercial activities, transportation and fuel.

The best known are five and they have transcended internationally due to their dangerousness and criminal acts:

400 Mawozo

The 400 Mawozo had its beginnings as a rural gang that stole animals, as explained by Gédeon Jean, head of the Center for Analysis and Research on Human Rights (CARDH) in Haiti, during an interview with the Spanish newspaper El País.

But they have spread specializing in large group kidnappings to ask for ransom.

In a conversation with the journalist Jacobo García, Jean explained that they settled in the Croix de Buquet area from the capital and have been growing a lot in recent times, taking over the area and recently fighting over it with other Haitian gangs.

His name is translated asthe 400 vulgar” and “the 400 inexperienced”. Half of the kidnappings in Haiti are attributed to this gang with the aim of obtaining money, in addition to creating crises and political destabilization.

In 90% of cases, according to the report, are released after several days and it is very rare that they are killed. However, his modus operandi includes torturing and beating his hostages to speed up payments.

It is estimated that its creation was in 2016, according to the Insight Crime website, an organization that delves into organized crime in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Joseph Wilson, aka “Lanmo San Jou”which can be translated as ‘Death does not know what day it will come’, is the one who is credited with the leadership of the 400 Mawozo gang.

On May 3 Germine Joly, one of the leaders of the gang, was extradited to the United States, Alias ​​Yonyon, the young Haitian, was required by the judicial authorities of the District of Columbia, accused of smuggling weapons of war and kidnapping of US citizens, among other charges, the Haitian National Police said in a statement.

Chen Mechan

The Chen Mechan group or “bad dogs” are currently in conflict over territory with the 400 Mawozos. Amidst the riots, people have been raped and murdered since the end of April.

The Plaine area of cul-de-sacin Port-au-Prince, is what both groups are interested in.

The agency’s statement also warned that a dozen houses were burned in the Marécage and Butte Boyer neighborhoods in Port-au-Prince.

G9 an Fanmi e Alye

G9, family and allies, are an alliance of nine armed groups, some of the strongest in Port-au-Prince, which in turn have alliances with other smaller groups throughout the city.

The gang is led by Jimmy Cherizier, alias Barbecue, a former police officer retired in December 2018, under serious accusations of human rights violations and that he had declared war on the late President Jovenel Moïse, who was assassinated in the early hours of July 7, 2021.

According to Insight Crime, this alliance between gangs emerged in 2020. Although last year some presented their withdrawal from the group due to internal conflicts.

Some of the areas of Port-au-Prince under G9 control are Martissant, Village de Dieu, Grand Ravin, Bas Delmas, Bel Air, Cité Soleil, and Fort Dimanche, among others.

The “Poteas or Potiá”

The Poteas have a lower profile. This is how the traffickers of undocumented Haitians to the Dominican Republic are known in Haiti.

Like the rest, the Poteas kidnap people, but they do it to collect the loans they make to Haitians to pay for the illegal crossing into Dominican territory.

In addition to the arrangements for the transfer, they guide their clients through the ways they can spend the night and reach the Dominican Republic. Likewise, they irregularly finance homes, land, vehicles and other properties to interested in emigrating to Dominican territory in illegal immigration status.

Journalistic records from Listín Diario report that many of the Haitians detained by members of the Army and Immigration inspectors beg not to be returned to their country, alleging that they borrowed money from Los Poteas (Potiás) and that risk being kidnapped until they pay their debts with this gang dedicated to human, drug and other illicit trafficking.

Another gang that completes the list is 5 secondsknown for its riots and violent protests in Port-au-Prince.

Historically, these gangs were not criminal groups, but political militants and fanatics who attacked opponents and violently defended the regime in power.

Haitian gangs they have strengthened since the assassination last year of the president Jovenel Moise and have become de facto authorities in significant parts of the country.

The NGO National Network for the Defense of Human Rights of Haiti (RNDDH) reported last Tuesday that has counted 148 murders since a war broke out between two armed gangs in Port-au-Prince on April 24.

The report provides details on numerous murders, including victims of shootings, machete attacks, house fires, as well as people who were beheaded or charred with burning tires in the middle of the street.

The clashes for control of the territory confront the Chen Mechan and 400 Mawozo gangs in Cul-de-Sac, a region that includes the communes of Croix-des-Bouquets and Tabarre.

For several decades, armed criminal gangs have ravaged the poorest neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince, but in recent years have drastically increased their control in the Haitian capital and in the country, multiplying murders and kidnappings.

Photo caption: Numerous armed gangs operate in Haiti that control and impose terror in numerous areas of the country, under the impotent gaze of their authorities.

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