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2 journalists killed by gang in Haiti

January 7, 2022

Journalists Amady John Wesley and Wilguens Louissaint were killed in the Laboule 12 area, which has seen intense fighting between armed gangs looking to wrestle control.

Haiti Streitkräfte in Port-au-Prince
The criminal justice system of Haiti is struggling to control the influence of armed gangsImage: Ralph Tedy Erol/REUTERS

Two journalists were killed by suspected gang members on the outskirts of Haiti's Port-au-Prince on Thursday. The journalists came under fire after they arrived to interview a rival gang leader, authorities said. 

Amady John Wesley, a journalist with Montreal-based radio station Ecoute FM, and local reporter Wilguens Louissaint were killed in the attack. A third journalist escaped.

Ecoute FM called the killing a "criminal and barbaric act."

Rising influence of gangs

The incident took place in the Laboule 12 area, which has seen intense fighting between armed gangs looking to wrestle control. The area holds the only other route – apart from the main road – to the southern part of Haiti.

The country is delving deeper into a political and security crisis after former president Jovenel Moise was assassinated in his private residence in Port-au-Prince six months ago. Several gangs have extended their influence beyond the capital's poorer neighborhoods.

According to the Center for Analysis and Research in Human Rights, Haiti recorded at least 950 kidnappings in 2021.

History of violence against journalists

Gang violence has highlighted the shortcomings of the country's criminal justice system with multiple unsuccessful investigations over the years. 

Well-known journalist Jean Dominique was assassinated in April 2000 but his death remains unsolved. 

In March 2018, photojournalist Vladjimir Legagneur didn't return from a reporting trip to the poor neighborhood of Martissant. The area is now controlled by gangs.

Authorities also announced investigations into the murders of two journalists in June and October 2019. The inquiry has not been completed.

In another case, journalist Diego Charles, an opposition political activist and 13 other people were killed in June 2021. No perpetrators have been identified.

see/jsi (Reuters, AFP)