Haiti gang leader shot dead after escaping in mass prison break
They shot back, mortally wounding him, while the driver and the third motorbike passenger escaped, Desrosiers said. Before his arrest in 2019, Joseph was the most-wanted gang leader in Haiti.Reuters | Port-Au-Prince | Updated: 27-02-2021 11:10 IST | Created: 27-02-2021 05:27 IST
One of Haiti's most powerful gang leaders, Arnel Joseph, was shot dead by police on Friday, a day after escaping from a prison in the capital along with hundreds of other detainees in a riot, authorities said.
Joseph died, still wearing cuffs on his ankles, when police attempted to flag down the motorbike he was traveling on at a checkpoint en route to his base in the central region of Artibonite, according to police spokesman Gary Desrosiers. The driver refused to stop and Joseph pulled a gun on the police. They shot back, mortally wounding him, while the driver and the third motorbike passenger escaped, Desrosiers said.
Before his arrest in 2019, Joseph was the most-wanted gang leader in Haiti. The escape from Croix-des-Bouquets Civil Prison on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince happened as gangs have proliferated, leading to a spike in kidnappings and murders in Haiti and turning vast areas of the capital into no-go areas.
Political turmoil, growing poverty, and impunity are fueling this growth, experts say, with rights activists accusing politicians of using the gangs for their own political ends. Twenty-five people including six prisoners and one police officer died in the prison break, Haiti's Secretary of State for Communication Frantz Exantus told a briefing late on Friday.
"Among the dead were peaceful citizens attacked by the prisoners while fleeing," Exantus said. "Police are still working on identifying all the victims." Police were able to recapture 60 of the prisoners who escaped but more than 200 are still on the loose and wanted.
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