Gang violence in Haiti is escalating and spreading from the capital Port-au-Prince through the center of the country to its two other major cities, Gonaives and Cap-Hatien, with a significant increase in killings, kidnappings and rapes in the past few months, the U.N. chief said in a report circulated Wednesday.
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in the new report to the U.N. Security Council that 2,728 intentional killings were recorded between October 2022 and June 2023 including 247 women, 58 boys and 20 girls.
The continuing rise in homicides is attributed to the emergence of a vigilante movement, known as “Bwa Kale,” in the capital in April which has gone after the gangs, he said. The U.N. chief also reported an increase in kidnappings for ransom during that time with 1,472 reported, though he said the actual number is almost certainly higher because families often do not report missing members to authorities out of fear for the victims’ safety.
Gang members also continue to use sexual violence including collective rape “to terrorize populations under the control of rival gangs,” Guterres said, pointing to 452 rape cases reported during the October-June period.
Read more: ABC News