November 16, 2023
A dire situation unfolded in Haiti on Nov. 15 as a heavily armed gang besieged Fontaine Hospital Center in Port-au-Prince.
According to the Associated Press, on Nov. 15 a heavily armed gang besieged Fontaine Hospital Center in Port-au-Prince, trapping vulnerable individuals, including women, children, and newborns.
Jose Ulysse, the hospital’s founder and director, urgently sought assistance through social media, highlighting the perilous conditions in a community overwhelmed by escalating gang violence.
Situated amid the Cité Soleil slum is the Fontaine Hospital Center, which has long served as a vital refuge from rampant gang activity. Residents of the area routinely suffer atrocities including rape, assault, and homicide.
Ulysse recounted that the gang members surrounded the hospital, setting homes ablaze in the vicinity and obstructing the exit of those inside. While he initially reported that some gang members had entered the hospital, he later clarified that they did not breach its confines.
Responding to Ulysse’s call, Haiti’s National Police force arrived with three armored trucks to facilitate the evacuation of 40 children and 70 patients to a secure location within the city. The delicate operation included transporting children reliant on oxygen.
“Gangs are in total control of the area,” Ulysse emphasized to the Associated Press, underscoring the security challenges faced by the community. A spokesperson for the National Police was unavailable for immediate comment.
Ulysse attributed the incident to the Brooklyn gang led by Gabriel Jean-Pierre, known as “Ti Gabriel,” who also heads G-Pep, one of two rival coalitions in Haiti. With approximately 200 members, the Brooklyn gang exercises control over specific communities within Cité Soleil, engaging in extortion, goods hijacking, and pervasive violence.
“The G-Pep coalition and its allies strongly reinforced cooperation and diversified their revenues, in particular by committing kidnapping for ransom, which has enabled them to strengthen their fighting capacity,” per a UN report.
The distressing event adds to the mounting challenges faced by Haiti since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in July 2021, with gangs wielding increasing influence and a surge in kidnappings and killings.
Earlier this year, armed gang members infiltrated a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders, forcibly seizing a patient from an operating room by fabricating a life-threatening emergency.