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Massacre in La Saline has Ties to State Officials, UN Report Finds

The bloody massacre which led to the death of 26 residents in the neighborhood of La Saline on November 13, 2018 was led by five gangs with evidence and testimony showing complicity of state officials and police, a United Nations investigation report released Thursday said.

"The attack on La Saline on November 13 and 14 was both an unprecedented act of violence due to the seriousness of the acts perpetrated and the high number of victims," said the UN Human Rights division of the Mission in Support of Justice (MINUJUSTH). "The attack left at least 26 dead, three wounded, two victims of rape. In addition, 12 people are missing. The figures are not exhaustive," the report adds.

State Officials were Present

The report says "the order to perpetrate the massacre was given by the Departmental Delegate of the Ouest, Richard Duplan, who according to witnesses, was seen in the company of Jimmy Cherizier alias 'Barbecue', an officer of the Departmental Unit to Maintain Order (UDMO) and Gregory Antoine alias 'Ti-Greg', a police adminsitrator, and gang members in black vests and ski masks. Witnesses have identified among the well known gang members present were Donalson alias 'Chabon', Eddy Macca alias 'Bwadom', Pablo alias 'Tokyo' and Serge Alectis alias 'Ti-Junior'."

Departmental Delegate Richard Duplan was witnessed shouting at the gang members "you killed too many people, that was not your mission", before speeding off in his vehicle.

The alleged presence of the departmental delegate, who answers directly to the President of the Republic Jovenel Moise, and members of the Haiti National Police (PNH) has been the driving force behind the rapid growth of protests demanding the president to resign. Protesters were claiming the attacks, not just in La Saline, are aimed at quieting protesters decrying corruption and mismanagement with the PetroCaribe fund.

The United Nation's report said the eye witness accounts of the presence of these officials "suggest a possible implication of the State in the events".

No Police Response

There was an absence of response by the Haitian National Police during the attack and the UN said it was unable to understand the reaction of the police considering the geographical position which could have intervened in time to save many lives.

The report says the first three hours were the most deadly. "The gang members were able to attack the residents without fear of an intervention by the PNH, despite the presence of two police sub-stations (La Saline and Portal Saint-Joseph) in the vicinity.

The first three hours of the attack were the most deadly. "The gang members were able to attack the residents without worry of a possible intervention of the PNH, despite the presence in the vicinity of two police sub-stations (those of La Saline and Portal Saint-Joseph), the headquarters of the CIMO and the Operation and Response Brigade (BOID), all located less than one kilometer from the affected area. The La Saline substation is on the boulevard facing the neighborhood and the officers of the PNH heard the cries of the residents, according to testimony."

"The lack of state intervention to protect the population from gang violence is of particular concern", according to the report that included recommendations to the General Inspectorate of the PNH to open an internal investigation into the lack of intervention of the PNH in the neighborhood of La Saline.

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