US military initiates evacuation of nonessential personnel from embassy in Haiti in response to persistent surge in gang-related violence

by | Mar 11, 2024

The U.S. military has dispatched forces to Haiti to conduct an operation aimed at airlifting nonessential personnel from the U.S. embassy and enhancing security measures in response to the escalating gang violence gripping the Caribbean nation.

This mission was initiated at the request of the State Department to fortify the security of the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince, as confirmed by U.S. Southern Command to Fox News Digital.

The embassy previously ordered departure for nonessential staff and all family members in July, though some non-essential personnel were airlifted.

The neighborhood surrounding the embassy in the capital city is predominantly under the control of gangs, which presents significant security challenges for embassy personnel and residents in the area.

The recent escalation in Haiti's already precarious situation follows the trip of the country's embattled prime minister, Ariel Henry, to Kenya. Henry aimed to advocate for the U.N.-backed deployment of a police force from Kenya to combat the rampant gang activity. However, a Kenyan court ruling in January deemed such a deployment unconstitutional, thwarting Henry's efforts to bolster security with international assistance.

Henry, under mounting pressure to either step down or establish a transitional council, continues to face challenges in returning to Haiti. After being unable to land in the Dominican Republic, which shares a border with Haiti, he arrived in Puerto Rico on Tuesday.

Dominican President Luis Abinader stated on Saturday that Henry's presence in his country would not be deemed appropriate due to safety concerns, effectively indicating that Henry is not welcome in the Dominican Republic.

Henry, a neurosurgeon, assumed the role of Haiti's prime minister following the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in July 2021. Last month, Henry committed to organizing a general election by mid-2025. Meanwhile, efforts by the international community have been underway to secure foreign armed forces willing to confront gang violence in Haiti.

In Port-au-Prince, police and palace guards collaborated on Saturday to reclaim control over certain streets in the capital following significant assaults by gangs on at least three police stations.

The continuous onslaught of gang attacks has brought Haiti to a standstill for over a week, resulting in dwindling supplies of essential goods. In response to the ongoing assaults on vital state institutions by gangs, Haitian officials announced an extension of the state of emergency and imposed a nightly curfew on Thursday to maintain order and security amidst the chaos.

Caribbean leaders have convened an emergency meeting scheduled for Monday in Jamaica to address what they describe as Haiti's “dire” situation. Invitations have been extended to key stakeholders including the United States, France, Canada, the United Nations, and Brazil. However, it remains uncertain whether Prime Minister Henry will participate in the meeting.

Source: Fox News

 

 

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