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Two Haitian journalists killed in gang attack

Armed police ride in the back of a truck in Port-au-Prince on 18 October

Image source, Getty Images

Two Haitian journalists have been shot and then burned alive on the outskirts of the capital, Port-au-Prince, according to one of their employers.

Wilguens Louissaint and Amady John Wesley had travelled to an area where rival gangs are fighting for control.

Mr Wesley’s employer, Écoute FM, said he was “savagely” killed while reporting on the area.

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The radio station told the BBC that one of the gangs was behind the deaths.

It added the unnamed group were a rival of the Baz Ti Makak gang, which had been trying to speak with the media.

A security source confirmed to CNN the men had been burned alive, while another unnamed source told Reuters news agency a third journalist managed to escape.

Haiti’s security situation has declined sharply since the assassination of the President Jovenel Moïse in July.

On Saturday, gunmen tried to kill Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry. He had vowed to crack down the gangs who have been blamed for a wave of kidnappings across the country.

However, police have been largely ineffective. They have failed to organise any large-scale operations to tackle gang violence in the country since March 2021, when four police officers were killed in an attempted raid in a Port-au-Prince neighbourhood.

Thursday’s attack took place in Laboule 12, just to the south of the capital. Gangs here are fighting for control because of the road which passes through it, which connects Port-au-Prince to country’s south.

The main road to the south from Port-au-Prince is already under the control of one of Haiti’s most powerful gangs.

It is not immediately exactly which gang targeted the journalists, or exactly why they were targeted. Écoute FM denounced the attack on “journalists exercising their profession freely” in Haiti. Reporters Without Borders describes it as a “dangerous and precarious” place to work, noting a number of journalists have been killed in recent years.

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