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Haitian police briefly lose control of armoured car


PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Just weeks after the United States and Canada sent a fleet of armoured vehicles to Haiti to keep gangs at bay, Haitian police briefly lost control of one of the cars in an incident that left at least two people dead, officials said.

The incident speaks to the difficult path ahead for the Caribbean country paralysed by gang warfare and struggling with its worst crisis in years.

A police station in the south of Haiti was overtaken by gangs Thursday morning, police said in a local radio broadcast.

When authorities sent reinforcements in armoured vehicles to control the gangs, police claim one of the vehicles broke down.

But officials within Haiti with direct knowledge of the situation said the car got caught in a sand trap and was assaulted by minors wielding Molotov cocktails, said Renata Segura, deputy director of Latin America and Caribbean for International Crisis Group.

Segura, who tracks Haiti for the nongovernmental organisation that tries to prevent or resolve conflict, said she was not authorised to reveal the identity of the official.

Police fled the vehicle in an attempt to avoid an armed conflict, she said, and a video confirmed by The Associated Press shows young men surrounding the tan vehicle labelled “POLICE” while firing automatic weapons in the air, cheering and recording video on their phones.

The armoured vehicle was part of a fleet sent by the US and Canada last month after being purchased by Haitian officials for an unconfirmed amount.

It was part of an effort by the two countries that Secretary of State Antony Blinken said would help “cut the insecurity knot” that has allowed gangs to create a humanitarian crisis in Haiti.



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