Port-au-Prince – At least 471 people were killed, injured or missing as a result of fierce clashes this month between rival gangs in Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince, the United Nations said on Monday.
“Serious incidents of sexual violence against women and girls as well as boys being recruited by gangs have also been reported,” the United Nations said in a statement on the toll from violence between July 8 and 17 in the impoverished neighborhood of Cite Soleil.
It did not specify how many of those people were killed.
Some 3 000 people have fled their homes, among them hundreds of unaccompanied children, and at least 140 houses have been destroyed, the statement said.
“The humanitarian needs in Cite Soleil are immense and are growing due to poverty, lack of basic services, including security, and a recent spike in violence,” Ulrika Richardson, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator in Haiti, said in the statement.
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While UN agencies are providing assistance in Cite Soleil, “a more sustainable and holistic approach needs to be found for the medium and longer-term development of this emblematic commune,” Richardson added.
Gangs that operate with widespread impunity have extended their reach beyond the slums of the Haitian capital, carrying out a wave of kidnappings.
At least 155 kidnappings took place in the month of June, compared to 118 in May, according to a report released by the Center for Analysis and Research in Human Rights.
Prime Minister Ariel Henry has yet to comment on the outbreak of violence that ravaged Cite Soleil in early July.
Haiti is mired in a political crisis stemming from the 2016 elections, which was aggravated by the assassination of president Jovenel Moise at his home on July 7, 2021.