US News Haiti: 25 dead in a prison escape, another 200 prisoners wanted

09:05  27 february  2021
09:05  27 february  2021 Source:   rfi.fr

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Police shot dead the leader of one of the country's most feared gangs after he was broken out of jail. Dozens more were killed in the violence. Thursday's breakout was one of the deadliest in the Caribbean island's history. More than 400 inmates escaped from a prison in Haiti on Thursday, authorities announced on Friday. He was shot by police at a checkpoint after pulling a gun, a police spokesman said. The jailbreak was the deadliest in a decade. Among the casualties were six inmates, one police officer and the head of the prison , Paul Hector Joseph, Secretary of State for Communication Frantz

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Haitian authorities announced Friday that more than 400 inmates escaped and 25 people died in a prison breakout, making it the country’s largest and deadliest one in a decade, with the prison director and a powerful gang leader among those killed. Some believe Thursday’s jailbreak at the Croix-des-Bouquets Civil Prison in northeast Port-au-Prince was to free gang leader Arnel Joseph, who had been Haiti ’s most wanted fugitive until his 2019 arrest on charges including rape, kidnapping and murder. Joseph was riding on a motorcycle through the Artibonite area

Détenus récupérés par la police haïtienne à l'extérieur de la prison d la Croix-des-Bouquets, après une tentative d'évasion, à Port-au-Prince le 25 février 2021. © AP - Dieu Nalio Chery Detainees recovered by the Haitian police outside the prison of Croix-des-Bouquets, after an attempted evasion, in Port-au-Prince on February 25, 2021.

The results of the massive escape that took place this Thursday, February 25 in the suburbs of the Haitian capital is considerable: more than 200 detainees are still wanted and 25 people were killed in this incident. Among them is a notorious gang leader who was shot dead during a police check the day after his escape.

With our correspondent in Port-au-Prince, Amélie Le Baron

Twenty-four hours after the massive escape that took place Thursday at Croix des Bouquets prison, the Haitian authorities have given a first quantified assessment. According to Frantz Exantus, the Secretary of State for Communication, more than 400 prisoners escaped. Almost 200 have already been recovered by the police.

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“Multiple prisoners have escaped ,” he added, without specifying the number. Before his arrest, Joseph was the most- wanted gang leader in Haiti . During the escape , at least six people were shot dead in the streets near the prison , an AFP photographer observed. The victims’ identities could not be determined. Employees at second-hand clothing stores located in a market adjacent to the prison told an AFP photographer that they were forced to give their merchandise to the escaped prisoners .

Seven prisoners and the prison director were killed in the violence after men shot up the prison from outside. In 2014, a riot at the same prison led to hundreds of inmates escaping . Joseph was awaiting trial on charges including murder, rape and arms possession. One of Haiti 's most powerful gang leaders was shot dead by police on Friday after a deadly 24 hours which began with a prison riot. Arnel Joseph, escaped from a prison in the outskirts of the capital Port-au-Prince during a riot on Thursday.

"Before yesterday's incident, there were 1,542 prisoners in Croix des Bouquets prison," said Frantz Exantus. The count made this morning Friday shows us that 1,125 prisoners are in cells. Twenty-five people died including six prisoners and Division Inspector Paul Hector Joseph who was in charge of the prison. Among the dead prisoners is Arnel Joseph who attacked a police patrol which had stopped the motorcycle he was on. The police retaliated and Arnel Joseph died.

Ordinary citizens

Gang leader Arnel Joseph was killed by law enforcement more than 120 km north of the prison the day after his escape. According to the authorities’s record, 18 of the 25 people who died were ordinary citizens, killed by escaping prisoners.

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