PORT-AU-PRINS, Haiti ( Associated Press) – More than 12 people have been killed and homes burned in a community near Haiti’s capital in a gang dispute over control of more territory, a local mayor told The Associated Press on Thursday. told the press.
Mayor Joseph Jeanson Guillaume said the incident happened around midnight Tuesday in the small town of Cabarete, northwest of Port-au-Prince.
The community recently hired local residents to serve as guards, facing a recent increase in violence in Haiti, the mayor said, but they found themselves overwhelmed by gangs carrying machine guns.
“They could do nothing to defend themselves,” Guillaume said. “It was a terrible incident.”
Photos and videos posted on social media showed victims’ dismembered bodies dumped outside their homes and fires burning through the night, destroying more than 20 homes.
Guillaume called on the Haitian National Police to bring those responsible to justice and to strengthen the agents’ presence and resources in the cabaret, which, he said, had become a “lawless zone”.
He also urged local residents to show their solidarity and welcome those who are fleeing their homes to avoid being killed by “merciless gangs” and “stand by them in this difficult time.”
The massacre is the latest episode blamed on gangs in Haiti, which have grown more powerful since the July 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moise.