The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) condemns the armed attack on the Prime Minister of Haiti and his delegation at Gonaives on Saturday 1 January 2022 during the traditional ceremony commemorating the 218th anniversary of Haiti’s independence.
The attendance of the Prime Minister of Haiti and his delegation of high officials at the traditional celebration of the anniversary of Haiti’s Independence, which includes a Te Deum church service at the Gonaives Cathedral, was disrupted by volleys of automatic weapons in the surroundings of the church. He was unable to deliver his public speech at the nearby Place des Armes Square which normally follows the church service as part of the ceremony.
The reported death of a citizen during the incident, heightens the Community’s concern at the continued deterioration of the security situation in the country.
CARICOM urges the Haitian authorities to address this prevailing untenable security situation with urgency in order to restore a sense of safety and security to the country.
(Reuters) – Gunmen unsuccessfully attempted to assassinate Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry during an event on Saturday commemorating the Caribbean country’s independence, his office said in a statement.
Henry’s office said on Monday that “bandits and terrorists” had tried to shoot the prime minister at a church in the northern city of Gonaives where the ceremony marking the 218th anniversary of independence was taking place.
Video footage broadcast on social media showed Henry and his entourage scrambling toward their vehicles as an armed group began shooting outside the cathedral in Gonaives.
Haitian media pointed to possible gang involvement in the shooting, which they said killed one person and injured two more.
Gangs’ hold on parts of Haiti has strengthened since the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in July.
Police, who called Saturday’s attack the work of “armed groups,” were unable to immediately confirm casualties. Prior to the incident, a local gang boss had made threats against Henry in local media.
The prime minister’s office said arrest warrants had been issued for the suspects who fired on Henry’s convoy.
The attack has renewed concerns about the safety of officials in Haiti since Moise’s assassination.
Henry, whose administration is facing mounting challenges to its legitimacy, was sworn in as prime minister barely two weeks after Moise’s killing at the hands of suspected mercenaries. The country has yet to set a date to elect Moise’s successor.