WARNING: Graphic content
Suspected ‘gang members’ are seen in viral Twitter post begging for mercy from vigilante lynch mob who stone them and burn them alive among gasoline-soaked tires in the streets in Haiti
At least 19 men were killed in Port-au-Prince on Monday in two separate attacks
Video showed mob piling tires on the suspected gangsters before lighting them
Gang members that were set on fire by a mob after they were stopped by police while travelling in a vehicle in the Canape Vert area of the capital Port-au-Prince, on April 24
Authorities say the gang is led by Vitel’Homme Innocent, who is accused of helping kidnap 17 US missionaries in October 2021
Innocent is also linked to the assassination of president Jovenel Moïse
13 suspected Haitian gang members beg for mercy before a vigilante lynch mob stones and burns them alive in in the capital Port-au-Prince on Monday
This is the horrifying moment suspected Haitian gang members beg for mercy before a vigilante lynch mob stones and burns them alive. The mob reportedly, ‘captured the gang members’ from after police stopped their vehicle in the Haiti capital, prior to burning them to death.
The mob beat and burned 13 men to death with gasoline-soaked tires on Monday after pulling them from police custody at a traffic stop, police and witnesses in the capital Port-au-Prince said.
Six more burned bodies were seen in a nearby neighborhood later on Monday, in what some say was extrajudicial killings. Unverified witness reports claimed police killed the men before locals set the bodies on fire.
Authorities in Haiti say victims are members of the “Kraze Baryè” gang led by Vitel’Homme Innocent, aka “Vitelom”, who is accused of helping kidnap 17 US missionaries in October 2021. Innocent is also linked to the assassination of president Moïse. The fugitive has a $1M bounty posted by the FBI
Haiti’s National Police said in a brief statement that officers in the city’s Canape Vert section had stopped and searched a minibus for contraband.
The officers confiscated weapons from suspects before they were ‘unfortunately lynched by members of the population’, the officials said.
The statement did not elaborate on how members of the crowd were able to take control of the suspects.
Stills taken from from the Twitter footage show the 13 men suspected to be members of a gang led by notorious crime lord led by Vitel’Homme Innocent, begging the baying mob for mercy
Next the furious vigilante lynch mob stone the men who are lying among discarded tires which eventually soaked with gasoline as accelerant before they were torched alive. Six more more men were later killed and burnt in another incident on Monday as well
The horrific vigilante violence shows the level of public anger over the increasing lawlessness in Port-au-Prince.
Criminal gangs have taken control of an estimated 60 per cent of the city since the July 2021 assassination of president Jovenel Moïse.
A witness who gave his name as Edner Samuel told reporters that members of the crowd took the suspected gangsters away from police, beat them and stoned them before putting tires on them, pouring gasoline on top and burning them.
The Associated Press reported seeing 13 bodies burning in the street. Two videos shared on social media appeared to show the moments before and after the tires were set alight above the group of men.
Members of the public gather around the bodies of alleged gang members whore were stoned and set on fire by a mob after they were stopped by police while travelling in a vehicle in the Canape Vert area of Port-au-Prince on Monday
Local reports said on Monday morning in Canapé-Vert, police began to check vehicles following an alert from the Intelligence and Operations Center on the presence of armed men in the area. The team reportedly intercepted a minivan coming from Pétion-ville in which were 14 suspicious and armed individuals who were arrested.
The bus driver identified the bus driver and the conductor were also taken into custody.
During the search of the vehicle the police found and seized weapons, ammunition, magazines for assault rifles, telephones and various illicit materials.
The suspects were taken to the Canapé-Vert sub-police station.
According to the reports, when locals got wind of the arrest, an angry mob then went to the sub-police station and took these individuals from the hands of the police before lynching them in front of the sub-police station. Ultimately, 13 of the 14 people arrested were stoned and burned.
The first video showed the suspected criminals lying on the floor with tires piled on their backs. One man appeared to lift his head, but as he did so was hit by a stone.
Others were seen lying still face down, seemingly trying not to attract attention to themselves, while one man appears to be pleading with an armed officer.
Police officers were seen standing guard, but showed little sign of trying to protect the men from the mob. One of the officers is shown stamping on one of the suspected gang members to prevent him from standing.
The second video, taken from further away than the first, shows thick black smoke billowing up from a pile of tires and bodies as flames burn.
The fires drew hundreds of onlookers in the hilly suburb of the city, many of them holding their noses amid the fumes. Photos from the scene show several bystanders watching, while others appeared to be taking photos.
Samuel said the suspects were believed to have been heading to another area to join a group of gangsters battling police.
The mob appeared to burn the 13 men to death with gasoline-soaked tyres on Monday after pulling them from police custody at a traffic stop, police and witnesses said. Pictured: Smoke is seen rising from two piles of bodies covered in tires
Another witness, Jean Josue, said there had been a lot of gunfire in the area since the early morning.
The situation in the capital remained tense, and shots could be heard ringing out from several neighborhoods.
In the nearby area of Turgeau, a few minutes drive from Canape Vert, witnesses said police had killed six gang suspects in a shoot-out, and that local residents dragged the bodies from where they fell to a central location and set fire to them.
An AP reporter saw the six burned bodies. Police did not release any statements about the violence in Turgeau.
Acting president Ariel Henry tweeted that his government expresses its sympathy with police officers injured in recent operations.
‘I applaud the considerable and meritorious efforts of the national police to restore order and peace in our cities and neighborhoods,’ he tweeted. ‘There is still a lot to do.’
Bystanders point and take photos of alleged gang members after they were set on fire by a crowd of people in Port-au-Prince, Haiti April 24
Witnesses at the scene said the suspects were believed to have been members of the Kraze Barye gang, which translates as ‘Breaking Barriers’.
The violence started before dawn, when gang members burst into several residential areas of the capital, looting homes and attacking residents, witnesses said.
‘It was the sound of projectiles that woke us up this morning. It was 3.00am, the gangs invaded us. There were shots,’ a Turgeau local told AFP news agency.
‘If the gangs come to invade us, we will defend ourselves, we too have our own weapons, we have our machetes, we will take their weapons, we will not flee,’ said another resident.
‘Mothers who want to protect their children can send them elsewhere,’ he added.
In fact, dozens of families left the neighborhoods caught in the spiral of violence on Monday, AFP journalists confirmed. Men, women and children fled the scene on foot, carrying a few personal belongings in bags or bundles.
Authorities say the gang is led by Vitel’Homme Innocent, who is accused of helping kidnap 17 US missionaries in October 2021.
He is also linked to the assassination of president Jovenel Moïse. in mid 2021.
Moïse was shot 12 times when two dozen armed men raided the country’s presidential residence in the early hours on July 7, 2021. Two weeks later, Prime Minister Ariel Henry was sworn in as president, having only just been named prime minister by Moïse on July 5.
Accusations and suspicions surrounding the now-acting president have since persisted home and abroad, particularly because his continued refusal to co-operate with authorities over his links to the one of the key suspects in the assassination, Joseph Felix Badio.
Pictures showed several bystanders looking horrified, while others appeared to be taking photos.
People look in horror at bodies in the street after gang-related violence in the capital of Port-au-Prince, Haiti on April 24
The latest killings came as the United Nations released a report highlighting the rise in violence in the country, even comparing it to levels seen in countries at war.
Armed gangs ‘continued to compete to expand their territorial control throughout the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area, spreading to previously unaffected neighborhoods,’ the report by secretary-general Antonio Guterres said.
‘With the high number of fatalities and increasing areas under the control of armed gangs, insecurity in the capital has reached levels comparable to countries in armed conflict,’ it added.
The number of reported homicides in Haiti rose in recent months by 21 per cent, from 673 in the last quarter of 2022 to 815 between January 1 and March 31 this year.
The number of reported kidnappings soared from 391 to 637.
‘The people of Haiti continue to suffer one of the worst human rights crises in decades and a major humanitarian emergency,’ the report said.
A police officer stands guard near a site where alleged gang members were set on fire by a crowd of people, when trying to drive away, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti April 24. Authorities say the gang is led by Vitel’Homme Innocent, who is accused of helping kidnap 17 US missionaries in October 2021. He is also linked to the assassination of president Moïse
The situation in the capital remains tense, and shots could be heard ringing out from several neighborhoods. Photo shows a man being arrested in the Turgeau commune of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, during gang-related violence on April 24
Clashes among gangs and with police have ‘become more violent and more frequent,’ claiming many civilian lives, it added.
The human rights situation of people living in gang-controlled areas ‘remains appallingly poor’ and conditions in areas newly targeted by gangs have ‘worsened significantly,’ according to the report.
The document highlighted the dire situation for residents of Cite Soleil, along the capital’s waterfront, where snipers have shot passersby on the street from rooftops.
‘The inhabitants feel besieged. They can no longer leave their homes for fear of armed violence and the terror imposed by the gangs,’ the UN humanitarian coordinator for Haiti said in a separate statement on Sunday.
Between April 14 and 19, clashes between rival gangs left nearly 70 people dead, including 18 women and at least two children, the statement added.
‘I reiterate the urgent need for the deployment of an international specialized armed force,’ Guterres said in Monday’s report.
Smoke rises above buildings in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on April 24, where several suspected gang members were burned alive by a vigilante mob
Guterres in October relayed a call for help from Henry, asking the Security Council to send assistance to help police restore order.
While some countries have indicated a willingness to participate, none have come forward to take the lead.
The United Nations Human Rights Council last week agreed to provide ‘technical assistance and support for capacity-building in the promotion and protection of human rights,’ and to appoint an expert to monitor the situation.
‘The barbary of the gangs has reached a high water mark,’ Haiti’s ambassador Justin Viard told the council, pointing to how they ‘kidnap, execute, and burn alive old people, children, pregnant women.’