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Haiti Cannibal Army 2024: Escalating Gang Violence Prompts Urgent International Response

In a harrowing turn of events, Haiti finds itself on the brink of chaos as armed gangs, collectively known as the “Cannibal Army,” wreak havoc, demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry. The situation has prompted the U.S. military to conduct an emergency overnight operation, airlifting non-essential embassy personnel from the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince and deploying additional forces to bolster security.

The unrest in Haiti, marked by an alarming surge in gang violence, prompted the evacuation of American personnel as the situation in the capital deteriorated. The U.S. Southern Command, responding to the Department of State’s request, executed the operation to secure the U.S. Embassy, enabling mission operations to continue while facilitating the departure of non-essential staff. Notably, the military clarified that no Haitians were on board the aircraft during the airlifts.

Haiti has been grappling with political instability and gang violence for decades, with the recent escalation reaching a critical point in March 2024. The catalyst for the turmoil was the mass jailbreak orchestrated by armed gangs, resulting in the escape of approximately 3,700 inmates. Prime Minister Ariel Henry, currently seeking refuge in Puerto Rico, faced intensified pressure from gangs led by figures such as Jimmy “Barbecue” Cherizier, demanding his resignation and warning of a potential civil war.

The ongoing crisis prompted the declaration of a state of emergency and a nighttime curfew by the Haitian government. Gangs, including the notorious “G9 Family and Allies,” have seized control of key government sites, attacked prisons, and targeted strategic locations, including the Toussaint Louverture International Airport. The violence has led to an exodus of thousands, with reports of over 15,000 people displaced in the capital.

In response to the escalating turmoil, the United Nations-authorized Multinational Security Support (MSS) mission, originally proposed in September 2023, faces delays. The U.S. government, committed to supporting the Haitian people, has evacuated embassy personnel and pledged robust enabling support for the MSS, including planning assistance, airlift, communications, and medical support.

International concern has grown, with Germany evacuating its ambassador, and Caribbean leaders convening an emergency meeting in Jamaica on March 11 to address the dire situation in Haiti. The meeting, inviting key nations like the U.S., France, Canada, the U.N., and Brazil, underscores the urgency of finding a solution to the escalating crisis.

As Haiti grapples with a collapsed social infrastructure, including a shortage of essential services like food, water, and medical care, the international community faces the pressing need for coordinated action. With over 45,000 Americans and foreign nationals in Haiti, multiple countries issue warnings for their citizens to evacuate immediately. Elon Musk announces plans to provide Starlink to Haiti, offering a glimmer of hope amid the chaos.

The situation remains fluid, and with the Haitian government in disarray, urgent diplomatic efforts are underway to address the immediate humanitarian crisis and pave the way for a peaceful transition of power through free and fair elections. The international community watches closely, recognizing that the fate of Haiti hangs in the balance, teetering on the edge of further turmoil or a path toward stability.