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A gang kills two journalists in Haiti

A member of the Haitian Armed Forces stands guard in one of the streets of Port-au-Prince, in Haiti. RALPH TEDY EROL (REUTERS)

Two Haitian journalists were killed this Thursday by a gang on the outskirts of the capital Port-au-Prince, reported the radio station where the informants worked. Wilguens Louissaint and Amady John Wesley were shot and a third journalist accompanying them managed to escape, the radio station Radio Ecoute FM told AFP.

The killings occurred in Laboule 12, one of the wealthy neighborhoods in Port-au-Prince, and in the midst of internal fighting between criminal gangs in Haiti. Journalists reported these clashes for trying to gain control of the area. A route through Laboule 12 is the only alternative to reach the southern half of the country that is controlled by one of the most powerful gangs on the island.

Six months ago, President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in his private residence in the capital, plunging Haiti into an even deeper political crisis and worsening the security situation that its inhabitants face on a daily basis.

The country recorded at least 950 kidnappings in 2021, according to the Center for Analysis and Research of Human Rights. Less equipped and facing criminal groups with strong arsenals, the Haitian police have not attempted to organize any large-scale operations against gangs since March 2021. On March 12, four policemen were killed while attempting an operation in a neighborhood of Port-au-Prince used by a gang to hide its hostages.

The impunity of the gangs shows the weaknesses of the criminal justice system from Haiti, where investigations are rarely successful. The April 2000 murder of journalist Jean Dominique, the island's most famous reporter at the time, remains unsolved. In June 2021, journalist Diego Charles was assassinated, along with an opposition political activist and 13 other people. Those responsible have not been identified by the authorities.

Photojournalist Vladjimir Legagneur never returned from a trip he undertook in March 2018 to do a report in the Martissant neighborhood, now totally controlled by gangs. Police have not yet released the results of a DNA test they said they would perform on a body found a few days after her disappearance.

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The Spanish reporter of the Antena 3 network Ricardo Ortega also died in Haiti. It was on March 7, 2004, with two bullets while covering the demonstrations against former president Jean Bertrand Aristide in the country's capital. Ortega, who was 37 years old, was born in Denia (Alicante).

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