Residents of the Haitian capital have warned gang members and promised they will be lynched if they seek revenge for the deaths of 13 alleged accomplices who were stoned to death and set on fire.
The alert came Monday, hours after a mob intercepted officers at an intersection in the Canapé Vert neighborhood of Port-Au-Prince and pulled the 13 men out of police custody.
Shocking video footage showed 13 criminal gang members begging for forgiveness as they lay in the middle of the street with petrol-soaked tires over and around their bodies before being set on fire.
“It is out of the question that armed bandits come to settle in Canapé Vert, if others return, they will suffer the same fate,” said an unnamed resident, as quoted by the local newspaper Le National. “We will not allow these thugs to transform our neighborhood like Canaan, Laboule and Pernier.”
Another resident expressed concern that the gang might be targeting locals and called on the police to strengthen their presence at the police station.
“I wouldn’t advise anyone who doesn’t live in our area not to go there because they risk losing their skin,” the man told the paper.
Bystanders gather around the bodies of 13 alleged gang members set ablaze by a mob on Monday after they were apprehended by police as they drove a vehicle in Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Haitian officers patrol downtown Port-au-Prince on Tuesday, a day after 13 alleged gang members were beaten and burned alive by a mob
The horrific incident occurred after Canapé Vert police pulled up a minibus early Monday and searched a minivan for contraband and seized weapons belonging to the 13 suspects, Haiti’s National Police said in a statement.
Canapé Vert residents who witnessed the murders said the suspects there were members of the Kraze Barye gang, which translates to “Breaking Barriers.”
The group is led by Vitel’Homme Innocent, who is accused of helping kidnap 17 American missionaries in October 2021 and is also linked to the murder of Moise.
Months ago, the FBI offered a $1 million reward for information leading to his arrest and/or conviction.
A man is arrested by Haitian police in the Turgeau neighborhood of Port-au-Prince just after a vigilante took 13 gang members from police jail, beat them and burned them alive
The mob appeared to burn the 13 men with petrol-soaked tires on Monday after pulling them out of police custody at a traffic stop, police and witnesses said
The horrific vigilante violence underlined the public’s anger at the increasingly lawless situation in Port-au-Prince, where criminal gangs have taken the lead more than an estimated 60% of the city since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in July 2021.
A United Nations report published Monday said at least 70 people, including 18 women and at least two children, were killed in clashes between rival gangs in Port-Au-Prince between April 14 and 19.
However, the Canapé Vert district is one of the few that has managed to evade control by the criminal gangs so far.
Bystanders gather around the bodies of alleged gang members who were set on fire by a mob on Monday after being stopped by police while riding in a vehicle in the Canapé Vert neighborhood of Port-au-Prince
Bystanders watch the bodies of alleged gang members set ablaze by a mob on Monday after they were apprehended by police while traveling in a vehicle in the Canapé Vert neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
Canape Vert resident, Edner Samuel, told The associated press that members of the mob took the suspected gangsters away from the police, beat and stoned them before putting tires on them, pouring gasoline on them and setting them on fire.
He said the suspects were believed to be heading to another area to join a group of gang members who were fighting with police. Another witness, Jean Josue, said there had been a lot of shooting in the area since early morning.
The situation in the capital was tense and shots were heard from several neighbourhoods.
In another incident hours after the initial attack, another six bodies were found burned in a nearby neighborhood of Turgeau. Some witnesses said police killed the group before residents set them on fire.