At least 234 people were killed or injured between July 8 and 12 as a result of gang violence in Cité Soleil, the poorest town in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area in Haiti, the UN reported on Saturday.

“Most of the victims are not directly linked to gangs, but were targeted by gang members and we have also received new reports of sexual violence,” said the spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Jeremy Laurence.

The UN indicated having registered 934 murders, 684 injuries and 680 kidnappings in the period between January and the end of June 2022. “We are deeply concerned about the worsening of violence in Port-au-Prince and the increase in human rights violations committed against the local population by heavily armed gangs,” said Laurence.

A previous report from the NGO National Network for the Defense of Human Rights put the death toll at 89, with 74 wounded and 16 missing.

Since Friday, automatic weapons have been heard all day in Cité Soleil, the most disadvantaged and densely populated town in the metropolitan area of ​​Port-au-Prince, where two factions are clashing without the intervention of the police, which has few men and little material.

Among the rows of shacks built four decades ago, thousands of families have no choice but to lock themselves in their homes without being able to go out to look for food or water, since many of the victims were victims of stray bullets.

In addition, the conflict between gangs affects all activities in the Haitian capital, since Cité Soleil is close to the oil terminal that feeds both Port-au-Prince and the entire north of the country.

The gangs, who have enjoyed great impunity for two years (which led them to multiply kidnappings) also began in early June to attack institutions located in the capital, such as the Palace of Justice and the Port Administration, according to the High Commissioner.

Conforms to The Trust Project criteria