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16 June, 2024
 
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Diplomatic evacuations begin as gang violence escalates in Haiti

US and European Missions retreat amid coordinated gang attacks, threatening government stability

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In response to escalating gang violence in Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince, the United States and other diplomatic missions have initiated evacuations, according to a report by CNN.  The US military conducted an operation to airlift non-essential personnel from the US embassy and enhance mission security. The German and European Union missions also evacuated diplomatic staff, including ambassadors, amid concerns about the expanding reach of gang attacks.

The evacuation, approved by President Joe Biden, comes as coordinated gang assaults threaten to destabilize the Haitian government, forcing thousands to flee. The move is attributed to heightened gang violence near US embassy compounds and the airport. The decision was prompted by credible intelligence suggesting potential gang movement towards Petionville, a well-to-do area with luxury hotels and embassies.

The deteriorating situation in Port-au-Prince, marked by the escape of thousands of prisoners and ongoing violence, led to the closure of Haiti's international airport and disruptions in essential services. The EU delegation temporarily closed offices, reducing its presence in the country. Multiple helicopter evacuation flights occurred over the past three days, involving diplomatic and humanitarian staff.

Haitian gang leader Jimmy Cherizier, facing sanctions, continues efforts to oust Prime Minister Ariel Henry, warning of a potential civil war. The chaos has displaced tens of thousands, hindering aid distribution and straining the healthcare system. Public frustration with Prime Minister Henry has grown, exacerbated by his absence and the country's security challenges. CARICOM is set to discuss the Haiti situation in Kingston on Monday.

Information sourced from CNN

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