Mayhem as hundreds of inmates break out of Haiti prison: Armed gangs storm Port-au-Prince jail killing three people – with guards fleeing savage violence

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Written By Maya Cantina
  • Over 300,000 have been forced to flee Haitian capital largely gang controlled

Thousands of inmates have broken out of a prison in Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince, as armed gangs stormed the city.

An outbreak of violence since Thursday has targeted the city’s international airport, police stations and the National Penitentiary prison.

It comes as gang leader Jimmy Cherizier – known by the nickname Barbecue – pledged to oust the country’s acting prime minister Ariel Henry.

On Friday he called on the Haitian military and national police to ‘take responsibility’ and arrest Mr Henry, who has served as prime minister since the assassination of Haiti’s last president Jovenel Moise in 2021.

Cherizier is a former police officer who now leads a gang alliance and has faced sanctions from the United Nations and US Department of Treasury.

A demonstrator holds up the flag of Haiti during protests against the country’s prime minister 

Gang violence since Thursday in Haiti's capital Port-au-Prince has left at least five dead

Gang violence since Thursday in Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince has left at least five dead

Pictured: A burnt car outside the city's National Penitentiary prison where hundreds of inmates are reported to have escaped

Pictured: A burnt car outside the city’s National Penitentiary prison where hundreds of inmates are reported to have escaped

Workers put out a fire at the office of Haiti's power company after it was targeted by demonstrators

Workers put out a fire at the office of Haiti’s power company after it was targeted by demonstrators

An inmate in a prison cell from where criminals broke out

An inmate in a prison cell from where criminals broke out

Inmates wave their hands out of the windows of the prison where armed gangs stormed overnight

Inmates wave their hands out of the windows of the prison where armed gangs stormed overnight

People gather outside the National Penitentiary prison in Port-au-Prince,  Haiti

People gather outside the National Penitentiary prison in Port-au-Prince,  Haiti

Protests have broken out against acting prime minister Ariel Henry, who took office in 2021 after assassination of President Jovenel Moise

Protests have broken out against acting prime minister Ariel Henry, who took office in 2021 after assassination of President Jovenel Moise

Hundreds of thousands of civilians have been forced to flee metropolitan areas which are gripped with unrest and controlled by gangs

Hundreds of thousands of civilians have been forced to flee metropolitan areas which are gripped with unrest and controlled by gangs

Pictured: A police officer walks by while two people carry their belongings

Pictured: A police officer walks by while two people carry their belongings

Pictured: A police officer stands guard during the ongoing civil unrest

Pictured: A police officer stands guard during the ongoing civil unrest

One the country's largest police unions called on all officers to help regain control of the prison

One the country’s largest police unions called on all officers to help regain control of the prison

Mr Henry had agreed to hold elections no later than the end of August 2025, CNN reported.

Over 300,000 people have been forced to flee their homes from indiscriminate killing and rape in Port-au-Prince, which is largely controlled by gangs.

One of the country’s policing unions, the National Police Syndicate of Haiti, posted on X that if efforts to contain the escape of inmates were unsuccesful than ‘we are done for’.

It added there would be 3000 extra criminals on the loose, and urged all officers to assist in regaining control of the prison.

The UK’s Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office continues to advise against all travel to Haiti, which has been plagued with unrest in recent years.

January was labelled by the UN as the most violent month in recent years, with around 1,100 people killed.

On Thursday, flights were suspended at the capital’s Toussaint Louverture International Airport amid gunfire, while several fire stations across the city have since been burnt down.

Other pictures showed workers putting out flames at the offices of Haiti’s power company after they were targeted by demonstrators.

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