Mutiny in the civil prison of Gonaïves: about twenty prisoners killed, several others escaped

CTN News

At the time of writing this article, the lifeless bodies of the victims were still lying on the ground around the prison, some of them having already been eaten by dogs.

On Thursday, January 26, around 5:00 a.m., gunshots were heard in the vicinity of the civil prison in Bienac, northwest of the city.

According to the government commissioner, Me Serard Gazius, the escape occurred after inmates disarmed the prison clerk and seriously wounded him. Then, a group of armed individuals disembarked in a vehicle and began shooting in the direction of the prison, according to the commissioner. Their intention, he said, was to free their imprisoned relatives. Between armed prisoners and armed civilians outside the prison, the officers on the scene appeared helpless and called for reinforcements, who were quick to intervene.

Out of 517 prisoners, the commissioner reported 14 dead and 11 injured. However, according to the employees present who had made the count, interviewed by ZoomHaitiNews correspondents, there were twenty corpses. They also specified that this was a provisional assessment because they had not yet completely searched the area around the prison.

(Human rights defenders speak of a massacre

If Jean Ronny Lima, coordinator of MODELA Human Rights, is cautious about using the term “massacre”, Mr. Dorgiles Michelet, coordinator of MEDHA Human Rights, does not skimp. In a note published on social networks, the human rights organization reports that 27 prisoners were killed.

MEDHA denounces this “massacre” and calls on the authorities to allow the relatives of the victims to recover the bodies. It is not normal to bury them in a common grave,” said Dorgiles.

The police forcefully released two other policemen before the escape

Angry after the murder of six police officers in Liancourt, Artibonite, on Wednesday, January 25, police officers supported by hundreds of civilian citizens demonstrated in the streets of Gonaives on Thursday to express their frustration. Outraged, they forcibly freed Olnick Joseph who was in custody at the police station. Joseph is accused of maintaining relations with the gang group “Kokorat” operating in La Croix Périsse, at the southern entrance to Gonaïves.

Subsequently, the police officers went to the civil prison and forcibly released Samuel Zamor, an agent of the Departmental Unit for Maintaining Order (UDMO), who was incarcerated for his alleged involvement in a murder case in Ennery, said Commissioner Gazius, who unfortunately was not able to establish links between this forcible release and the escape that occurred a few hours after these events.

Had they thought of closing the cell after their crime? A question that the commissioner could not answer. However, he said he was waiting for the final report of the prison clerk to determine the causes of this mutiny. The latter is, unfortunately, still in the hospital after being attacked by the inmates. At the same time, the government commissioner announced the opening of an investigation.

Text by Ronel Paul


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