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UN Investigating Brutal November Massacre in Haiti

Voice of America
15 Jan 2019, 17:05 GMT+10

U.N. officials say they expect to shortly wrap up their investigation into a bloody November massacre in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, that left at least 21 men dead.

Suspected gang members brutally shot or hacked the victims with machetes in the impoverished La Saline neighborhood.

'Investigations by both the authorities and human rights organizations are ongoing, and our human rights service is also working to determine what happened,' the head of the current U.N. mission in Haiti said last month.

Uniformed men open fire

Witnesses told The Associated Press that on Nov. 13, a police truck with uniformed men drove into La Saline. The witnesses said they thought the men were police officers looking to head off a gang war.

Instead, the men opened fire before going from house to house, dragging out unarmed males and fatally shooting them or slicing their bodies with machetes.

Residents said gang violence in many Haitian neighborhoods has spiked since armed U.N. peacekeepers left Haiti in 2017 and were replaced by a smaller police training force.

'The lawless zones are multiplying,' the head of a local human rights group said. 'The authorities have said nothing. They haven't even condemned this massacre.'

Part of gang war?

Some residents told the AP they believe the massacre was part of a gang war, while others suspect it was orchestrated by government officials trying to stop a planned anticorruption march.

Haitian police chief Michel-Ange Gedeon called the violence a fight between two gangs. He said two policemen accused of being involved in the killings have been suspended.

According to the AP, gang money comes from neighborhoods with thriving markets where they extort money from vendors.

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