Gangs kill former Haitian senator amid spike in violence


FILE PHOTO: Members of the Haitian National Police patrol a street as ongoing gun battles between rival gangs have forced residents to flee their homes, in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti April 28, 2022. REUTERS/Ralph Tedy Erol/File Photo

PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) - Gangs killed a former Haitian senator who led a government housing program on Saturday in an affluent area of Port-au-Prince, the prime minister said on Sunday, amid a spike in violence by criminal groups in the Caribbean nation's capital.

Yvon Buissereth was shot while police battled with gangs in the neighborhood of Laboule, following an outbreak of violence in recent weeks in Port-au-Prince and a turf war in the town of Cite Soleil that left 148 people lost, wounded or missing.

"His killers, as well as all the other criminals who sow mourning in the country, will be fully prosecuted and must answer for their ignominious actions in court," Prime Minister Ariel Henry wrote on Twitter.

Buissereth served as a senator starting in 2006 and was named in 2017 to head the Public Company for the Promotion of Social Housing, known as EPPLS.

The agency focuses on low-income housing and has over the years partnered with foreign institutions such as the World Bank and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Haitian gangs waged intense gun battles in late July in Port-au-Prince, shuttering main avenues and a municipal market downtown.

Earlier last month, gun battles between rival Haitian gangs near Port-au-Prince left thousands in the small coastal town of Cite Soleil trapped without access to water, food or medical care.

(Reporting by Harold Isaac in Port-au-Prince and Brian Ellsworth in Miami; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

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