Haiti gang open fires on pastor-led march, kills at least 7

The attack on churchgoers further highlights the escalating violence in the region

Haiti gang guns down churchgoers, kills several (photo: DW)
Haiti gang guns down churchgoers, kills several (photo: DW)


A powerful gang in Haiti opened fire on a pastor-led march through an area controlled by the gang near the capital city of Port-au-Prince, killing several of the parishioners.

The gang, which controls the northern Canaan suburb, fired at the protesters with machine guns. Local rights group CARDH said at least seven people were killed, with the group's director Gedeon Jean expecting the death toll to rise.

Jean said that several people were wounded, and some churchgoers may have been kidnapped.

Videos shared on social media showed some 100 people marching in Canaan. Many of the protesters wore yellow shirts associated with Pastor Marco's religious group, while some were seen carrying sticks and machetes.

Journalists at the scene filmed the attack on the march in real time, said Marie Yolène Gilles, director of human rights group Fondasyon Je Klere, to the Associated Press.

Unverified videos on social media showed people who appear to be hostages saying they thought the march was peaceful and were unaware it addressed the gang.

CARDH director Jean told AP that he intended to ask the ministry of justice to probe, accusing the pastor of irresponsibility because he "engaged a group of people and put them in a situation like this".

He argued that the protesters were no match for gang members with assault rifles.

"Police should have stopped them from going," Jean said. "It's extremely horrible for the state to let something like this happen."

Canaan is believed to be under the control of a man known as 'Jeff', who is thought to be an ally of the 5 Seconds gang.

Gangs have become more powerful in Haiti since the 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moise. They are believed to control up to 80 per cent of the capital.

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