Residents hide and flee from PaP commune during day-long gang battle

CROIX-DES-BOUQUETS, Haiti – Two rival gangs exchanged heavy gunfire throughout the day on Sunday in Butte Boyer, a commune in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area, forcing terrified residents into hiding fear or to flee their homes.

Some residents have taken refuge in the neighborhoods around Butte Boyer, but mainly in the Tè Zone, sources based in the neighborhoods said. The Haitian Times does not reveal their identity for security reasons.

A police operation was underway Sunday afternoon, Haiti National Police spokesman Garry Desrosiers told The Haitian Times. No other details were immediately available.

The shooting began around 6:30 a.m., shaking the neighborhood which is waking up on full alert. Residents said that the 400 Mawozo gang wanted to install a gang leader in Croix-des-Missions, an area of ​​Butte Boyer that Chyen Mechan, or Mad Dog, already controls.

A mother-of-three said as she and her children cowered in the corners of their home, she saw at least four masked, ‘armed to the teeth’ men walking around her yard.

“We saw a lot of it, walls jumping,” the woman said. “I saw them jumping over a wall next to it, and others walking around our house and behind our house. Later, I saw two more.

Authorities have yet to say if anyone died or was injured in the siege-like environment.

Both are likely, according to text messages exchanged between residents, since the shooting continued uninterrupted for at least 12 hours. It was unclear what firefights were between rival gangs and were with bandits and police.

Gunshots were also heard on Saturday evening in Turgeau. Details of that shooting were not immediately available.

Journalist Juhakenson Blaise contributed to this article.

Joan D. Boling