Haiti Police Recover Hijacked Cargo Ship After Intense Shoot-out With Gangs

Cargo ship
Representation Image

The Haiti National Police Agency, in a bold move, have reclaimed control of a hijacked cargo ship loaded with rice after a five-hour continuous shootout with gangs.

The shootout injured two Haiti police officials and killed an unspecified number of gang members, according to the authorities.

The incident was a remarkable victory for the understaffed police force, which has been constantly dealing with rising gang violence since a series of attacks that began on February 29.

The hijackers were members of the two widely recognised gangs, the 5 Seconds and the Taliban gang, according to police reports made public on April 7, 2024.

The gang took over the transport ship Magalie on Thursday, just after it left the port of Varreux.

The gangs kidnapped all of the passengers on board, and they stole about 10,000 bags of rice from the cargo—60,000 sacks that were initially meant for the seaside city of Cap-Haitien in the north.

According to a Facebook post, the National Police also revealed that they had discovered a “significant” stock of firearms and ammunition at Cap-Hatien on Friday.

The sender and recipient of the intercepted arms shipment—which included 26 guns and 999 cartridges—from Miami into the nation are the target of an ongoing search by the authorities.

Prime Minister Ariel Henry announced his retirement once a transitional presidential council is constituted, citing the escalating violence as a significant concern.

Henry, who advocated for the UN-backed deployment of a Kenyan police force during the attacks, is still unable to return to Haiti.

The most recent conflict between law enforcement and gangs is part of increasing violence that includes over 4,000 prisoners being released from prison after prison stormings and targeted attacks on essential government buildings like police stations.

Reference: NBC News, VOA News

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