AMERICA/HAITI - G9 gangs continue to threaten, loot and fuel insecurity: No one is spared from rising violence

Tuesday, 11 July 2023

Port au Prince (Agenzia Fides) - "The situation is very difficult, the bandits continue to arrive. Yesterday they came in force and it was really bad because they were not peaceful. While other times they come to talk, this time they came to threaten. In the afternoon, I have to deliver them the equivalent of 30,000 dollars in rice, oil and beans. I tried to negotiate, but they continue to threaten to destroy our house". The testimony of Sister Marcella Catozza, Franciscan in Port-au-Prince, who made a heartfelt appeal to the Camillian missionaries present on the island, asking for shelter at the Foyer Bethléem, for the accommodation of boys and girls from 3 to 10 years of age that the sisters care for in their home. "All the balances have changed here, continues the missionary. I no longer have to deal only with "my" bandits, whom I have known for 20 years, but also with all the others in the village who would like to take our house and make it their base, as has already happened with other houses of sisters and a parish".
The area, in particular, is controlled by the "G9 gangs" who claim the space to establish their bases there, which are strategic for them as, having access to the sea, they allow a greater field of action and greater control over everything. "That's why I try to move as many children as possible, at least the older ones, five boys and five girls aged 15, because they take them to be child soldiers and abuse girls. For the youngest who have parents, the nun tries to bring them back to their family while continuing to follow them by visiting them".
As for those who have no one, they were welcomed by the sisters of Foyer Bethléem, the heart of the Foyer Saint Camille. According to information received by Father Antonio Menegon, MI, in the past few days, 11 young people were killed in one afternoon and 4 others the following afternoon: "I receive news like this every day and sadness remains in my heart for those we cannot help, for those who die in the streets, killed by senseless violence, for those who are raped, robbed, beaten and kidnapped." Next July 14, the Missionaries celebrate the feast of Saint Camillus De Lellis, founder of the religious order. "I think the best way to remember him is to commit ourselves even more to the service of the sick, especially in the countries of the world where they are left to fend for themselves, without hospitals, without care and without medicine", said said Father Menegon. (AP) (Agenzia Fides, 11/7/2023)