First days of ‘Operation Tornado’ against gang members result in seven deaths and six arrests

File – A policeman guards a street in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. – JOSE A. IGLESIAS / ZUMA PRESS / CONTACTOPHOTO

At least seven Haitian gang members have been killed and six arrested during the first week of the so-called ‘Operation Tornado’ launched late last month by Haitian security forces against criminal groups in the country.

According to the first assessment of the security forces collected by the portal Haiti Libre, the police have confirmed the death of two prominent gang members, identified as ‘Nounou’ and ‘Geordany’, wanted by the police in the jurisdiction of Bon Repos for their alleged involvement in kidnapping, robbery, theft, extortion of drivers and criminal association.

Similarly, security forces announced the arrests of Yvelt Célestin, alias ‘Tizo’ and Jackson Onélus, alias ‘Akoun’ in a series of operations carried out in the Torcelle and Tapage areas of Port-au-Prince, as well as those of Hervé Célestin, Wenskey Detournel and Luckner Berger.

The operations also resulted in the seizure of an assault rifle, four pistols and a cargo truck.

Haiti’s President Ariel Henry called in October for help from the international community and its Armed Forces to address the humanitarian crisis caused, among other things, «by the insecurity resulting from the criminal actions of armed gangs and their sponsors».

The Port-au-Prince metropolitan area, the most affected by gang violence, has been the scene of all kinds of violent actions, including looting and kidnappings, which have also led to increased inequality and shortages of supplies and basic commodities.