Gang-related political violence and kidnappings will continue despite Haitian groups meeting in Louisiana, USA, to discuss forthcoming elections. Interim Prime Minister Ariel Henry’s term finishes 07 February, pressurising all attendees to consolidate a political deal.
• Gang-related violence has continued to increase due to the worsening security situation and the growing power of the gangs.
• On New Year’s Day, Prime Minister Ariel Henry fled a mass he was attending to celebrate Haiti’s Independence Day before he could give his planned speech.
• Gang leaders have continued to exert their power over the territories they control, defying the rule of law and committing more acts of violence and extortion. The leader of a gang operating in Gonaïves threatened to kill the judge in charge of an investigation case that involves several gang leaders. The gang leader warned in an audio message that he had killed the judge’s cousin and another man who were discovered to be informants for the police.
• There have been numerous other kidnaps for ransom and killings, including the murder of two Haitian journalists who were shot and then burned alive just outside Port-au-Prince. These are VERY LIKELY to increase further in the coming months given the grim security situation and political power vacuum.
• Six political blocs, as well as academics and Haitian NGOs, met at the Haiti Unity Summit in Baton Rouge, Louisiana from 13 – 19 January.
• Haiti’s Senate sat for the first time in a year on 10 January.
• Despite both the Summit and the Senate meeting, concern is building on the ability to develop governance structures.