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International News: High-profile Haitian politician killed in apparent gang attack

Posted: Sunday, October 30, 2022. 12:11 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: According to Reuters, Haitian media have reported the apparent death by ambush of Eric-Jean Baptiste, head of the Rally of Progressive National Democrats (RDNP) political party, as he was returning to his home in the Laboule 12 area on Friday night.

The apparent gang attack, with assailants riddling Baptiste’s car with bullets in the affluent suburb of the capital Port-au-Prince, comes amid a gang blockade of a fuel terminal that has created a humanitarian crisis.

It was not immediately evident who was responsible for the attack. Haiti’s National Police did not respond to Reuters’ request for comment.

Laboule 12 is now increasingly under the control of a gang called Ti Makak, which in recent years has risen from obscurity to become a powerful criminal group involved in extortion and kidnappings.

The murder follows the August assassination of former Haitian senator Yvon Buissereth in the same area, a crime that one state official attributed to Ti Makak.

The G9 group of gangs, which is not related to Ti Makak, has since September been blocking the Varreux fuel terminal, in response to a government plan to cut fuel subsidies, and has demanded that Prime Minister Ariel Henry resign.

The United Nations has discussed a possible strike force mission to confront gangs and reopen the terminal, but it is not yet evident who would lead such a force.


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