Haiti declares state of emergency, imposes nighttime curfew amid surging violence

The Haitian government declared the 72-hour state of emergency on Sunday evening and imposed a curfew from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m. in an effort “to restore the order and to take appropriate measures in order to regain control of the situation,” according to a press release.

The government cited “the deterioration in security, particularly in the metropolitan area of ​​Port-au-Prince, characterized by increasingly violent criminal acts perpetrated by armed gangs, causing massive population displacements and consisting in particular of kidnappings and assassinations of peaceful citizens, violence against women and children, ransacking and theft of public and private property.”

Hundreds — if not thousands — of inmates broke out of the National Penitentiary, Haiti’s biggest prison, in downtown Port-au-Prince on Saturday night following a massive, coordinated attack by gunmen from gangs, two senior Haitian government officials told ABC News. Of the nearly 4,000 inmates estimated to have been behind bars at the facility prior to Saturday’s assault, fewer than 100 were still inside as of Sunday according to the officials, who cautioned that the actual number of escapees remains unknown.

Read more: ABC News