**Gang Violence Soars in Haiti, UN Report Reveals**
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — In a new report released on Thursday, the United Nations disclosed that the number of people killed, injured, or kidnapped in Haiti between October and December last year has surged by nearly 10% compared to the previous quarter. The figures paint a grim picture of the escalating violence in the country.
During this period, the number of killings alone soared to over 1,600, a result of territorial fights unleashed in the Cite Soleil slum of Port-au-Prince. This violence was attributed to the power vacuum created by the death of a notorious gang leader known as Andrice Isca, also identified as Iskar Andrice and Iscar Andris. The clashes, which took place over two weeks in late November, left nearly 270 people dead or injured.
The clashes primarily occurred within two rival gangs, G-9 Family and Allies, and G-Pep, an opposition gang coalition. This infighting forced over 1,000 individuals to abandon their homes, seeking refuge in safer areas nearby, according to the report by the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH).
In addition to the loss of human life, the report reveals that nearly 700 people were kidnapped during the same period, marking a significant increase of almost 20% from the previous quarter. The victims of these abductions come from various social backgrounds, including street vendors, farmers, doctors, civil servants, and even high-level professionals.
The report also shines a light on the horrifying atrocities committed by these gangs. Women and girls continue to be raped, with the perpetrators recording the acts and posting the videos on social media platforms, intending to humiliate their victims. Moreover, children are not spared from the violence, with over 50 minors killed in the last quarter alone.
The repercussions of this brutal violence are far-reaching and devastating. Over 310,000 people, including 170,000 children, have been displaced from their homes due to gang violence, according to UNICEF. Furthermore, the overall number of people killed, injured, or kidnapped in Haiti last year exceeded 8,400, more than double the figures from 2022.
In response to the escalating crisis, BINUH has called upon the international community to expedite the deployment of a foreign armed force to Haiti. However, it remains uncertain whether such assistance will materialize soon, as the country has been awaiting this support for over a year. In a recent development, a court in Kenya ruled against the UN-backed deployment of police officers to Haiti, deeming it unconstitutional.
As the situation in Haiti continues to deteriorate, urgent action is needed to address the rampant gang violence and protect the vulnerable populations affected by this crisis.
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