Port-au-Prince, Haiti (AP) – The leader of a powerful Haitian gang said on Friday he would lift a blockade of fuel distribution that has caused a crisis in hospitals, gas stations and even the water supply in the country’s capital.
G9 gang leader Jimmy “Barbecue” Chérizier organized a press conference to announce that for seven days, hospitals, schools and gas stations would be allowed to send trucks to the port’s refueling station.
But he stressed that the suspension was only temporary and called again for the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry, whom he accuses of being involved in the July 7 assassination of President Jovenel Moss. Chérizier added that he would close the port again within a week and keep it that way until Henry resigns.
Shortly after the Cherezer announcement, the Associated Press saw two magmatic trucks arrive at the port, refuel and drive away without incident.
The capital and much of the country has been paralyzed since last month, when Group 9 closed the entrance to the port where fuel is stored and distributed.
The police and military seem unable to take on the Group of Nine and other gangs, even as the shutdown of gas stations has crippled much of an already precarious economy.
Hospitals have reported turning away patients due to a lack of generators, many buses have stopped operating, and banks, government offices and schools have closed due to a lack of transportation. Water pumping stations were affected by the fuel shortage.
The fuel shortage sparked protests from frustrated truck, bus and taxi drivers.
The G9 is one of several gangs that have surrounded the country’s capital and caused thousands to flee from neighborhoods controlled by criminals.
One such group has kidnapped 17 members of an Ohio-based Christian Aid missionary group since Oct. 16 and is demanding millions of dollars in ransom.
This week, the US government urged US citizens to leave Haiti due to insecurity and severe fuel shortages. Canada announced on Friday that it will be removing all but essential staff from its embassy.
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