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In showing of law and order, Haitian police kill three during armed attack on nation's central bank

The bank expressed its gratitude for the Haitian law enforcement community, thanking it for “protecting our community.”

Close up to 10 Gourde or Gourdes of the Republic of Haiti
Close up to 10 Gourde or Gourdes of the Republic of Haiti | Shutterstock

March 20, 2024 12:27pm

Updated: March 20, 2024 12:51pm

Haitian police reportedly killed at least three people during a criminal attack on the nation's central bank.

The killings occurred when a “group of criminals” stormed the Bank of the Republic of Haiti (BRH) on Monday, one bank worker told  the French Press Agency, leaving three dead and another security officer injured.

The bank expressed its gratitude for the Haitian law enforcement community, thanking it for “protecting our community.”

The attack is the one of the latest incursions against Haitian infrastructure as gang violence continues to rock the Caribbean island’s capital city of Port-Au-Prince as armed groups have taken control of government buildings, hospitals, schools and even airports.

The gangs, under the leadership of gang leader Jimmy Chérizier, have also stormed prisons and freed thousands of inmates to recruit more soldiers for their ranks.

The ensuing chaos resulted in the resignation of Acting Haitian Prime Minister and President Ariel Henry after he returned from Kenya to Puerto Rico where he was forced to remain in self-imposed exile due to the shutdown of airports in Haiti and the neighboring Dominican Republic.

The acting prime minister resigned after a meeting with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), an intergovernmental collective of regional states that work together to help resolve international issues in the area.

The organization has since drawn up plans to set up a transitional council with seven voting members, two observers and one religious leader.

Haiti currently has no prime minister, president or parliament, and its last real election was eight years ago in 2016.

“Following an incident yesterday near [our] site on Rue Pavee, security forces and the bank's security team acted with professionalism and efficiency,” bank officials stated on their X account.

The bank said it was “deeply grateful to our officers and the state police for their vigilance.”

One bank employee who spoke to AFP said the injured security officer was shot, but that report has not yet been verified by other media.

Since the gang invasion began, Haitian police have been trying to push armed members out of the capital city. The gunfire being exchanged between the gangs and law enforcement agents has resulted in a month-long state of emergency.

On Sunday, Haitian government minister Leslie Voltaire, who served under former Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide told the BBC that his country was in “a grave crisis,” and insisted that “bandits” would prevail in taking control of the government.

“They [armed gangs] say that they have put Ariel Henry out, but they cannot enter into the palace, they cannot enter into the prime minister's office,” he insisted.

Still, the former government minister said “something” had to be done “because now all the ports are blocked, the airport is blocked, and even if you want to go to the beach you cannot go.”

He added that, “there is a lot of kidnappings, a lot of rape, a lot of burglaries. One has to decide if you want to live like that, or if you want to fight. I want to fight.”

Last week, the U.S. and German embassies evacuated their staffs from Port-au-Prince and the United States said it was planning charter flights to the island to rescue American citizens as its travel advisory remains at Level 4: Do Not Travel.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has also opened a portal for Floridians stranded in Haiti so that they can request assistance in returning to the Sunshine State.

“We will do everything possible to help Floridians and Americans who are in need of help in Haiti,” said Division of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie. “I encourage those with needs to visit the portal today.”

Executive Editor

Gelet Martínez Fragela

Gelet Martínez Fragela is the founder and editor-in-chief of ADN America. She is a Cuban journalist, television producer, and political refugee who also founded ADN Cuba.