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US Airlifts Non-Essential Embassy Personnel from Haiti Amid Escalating Gang Violence

Port-au-Prince, March 10, 2024, The Europe Today: The United States military confirmed on Sunday the evacuation of non-essential embassy personnel from Haiti as the country grapples with escalating gang violence that poses a threat to the government.

The US military’s Southern Command released a statement, stating, “This airlift of personnel into and out of the embassy is consistent with our standard practice for embassy security augmentation worldwide, and no Haitians were on board the military aircraft.”

The US embassy in Haiti clarified on social media that it “remains open” but acknowledged heightened gang violence in the vicinity, prompting the State Department’s decision to arrange the departure of additional personnel.

The wave of violence erupted in late February during Prime Minister Ariel Henry’s visit to Kenya, where he advocated for a UN-backed deployment of a police force from the East African country to combat gangs in Haiti. Since then, criminal gangs have seized control of much of the capital, Port-au-Prince, and targeted key infrastructure, including prisons where a significant number of inmates escaped.

Reports indicate that residents have sought refuge in public buildings amid the violence. The situation has led to over 360,000 internal displacements, according to the UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM), intensifying the humanitarian crisis in the country.

The evacuation of non-essential embassy personnel underscores the deteriorating security situation in Haiti, requiring international attention and collaborative efforts to restore stability and protect the civilian population.