Haiti Declares State of Emergency as 3,700 Inmates Escape in Massive Prison Break

The Haitian government has declared a 72-hour state of emergency after armed gangs launched a brazen assault on a major prison facility.

The coordinated attack, which occurred over the weekend, resulted in the deaths of at least 12 individuals, with approximately 3,700 inmates breaking free in a massive jailbreak.

Prime Minister Ariel Henry, whose leadership has come under intense scrutiny, faces mounting pressure from gang leaders who are demanding his resignation.

The Prime Minister’s current whereabouts remain unknown as he reportedly travelled to Kenya.


Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, has become a stronghold for these armed groups, controlling nearly 80% of the city’s territory.

The government has characterised the prison break and subsequent acts of violence as a grave threat to national security.

In response, authorities have implemented an immediate night-time curfew, which commenced at 20:00 local time (01:00 GMT on Monday).

Reports from Haitian media suggest that police stations were targeted in a deliberate ploy to distract authorities, paving the way for the assault on the penitentiary facilities.

Serge Dalexis from the International Rescue Committee, speaking to the BBC from Haiti, provided grim insights into the situation on the ground.

Dalexis highlighted the dire state of law enforcement, with numerous police stations falling under gang control and reports of multiple police officers losing their lives over the weekend.

Among the chaos, detainees in Port-au-Prince include individuals charged in connection with the 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse.


The violence gripping Haiti has only intensified since Moïse’s killing, exacerbating an already volatile situation.

With no successor to President Moïse and presidential elections stalled since 2016, the country finds itself mired in a precarious state of instability.

As Haiti grapples with the aftermath of the prison break and the resurgence of gang violence, the government faces mounting challenges in restoring order and addressing the deep-rooted issues plaguing the nation.

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