In one of the most violent prison breakouts in the history of Haiti, more than 400 prisoners have escaped from jail, with nearly 25 people pronounced dead.
“Twenty-five people died including six prisoners and Divisional Inspector Paul Hector Joseph who was in charge of the prison,” said Secretary of Communication Frantz Exantus.
The violent prison breakout took place in a prison in the suburbs of the capital Port-au-Prince on Thursday.
One of the prisoners who was declared dead during the post-prison break chase is an infamous gang leader, Arnel Joseph, who was gunned down by the police officers at a police checkpoint, nearly 120 kilometres north of the prison.
“Arnel Joseph was killed while attacking a police patrol which had stopped the motorcycle he was on. The police responded and Arnel Joseph is dead,” Exantus reported.
Joesph was arrested in 2019 for allegedly being the head of one of Haiti’s main criminal organisations which has one of the largest networks in the whole region.
This is not the first time Joseph tried getting out of prison. After being arrested in 2019, he had tried to escape last July. However, he had advertised his plan to escape in a video message posted on social media, which had warned the officials.
Before this too, he had escaped from another jail in Port-au-Prince twice — in 2010 and 2017.
The Croix-des-Bouquets prison in question this time, was inaugurated in 2012 and is a high-security prison built with funding from Canada. The prison has a maximum capacity of 872 inmates, but the prison had nearly double the capacity.
This prison breakout has left nearly 25 people dead and “among those killed were some ordinary citizens who were killed by the prisoners during their escape,” Exantus said.
As per pictures posted by AFP, dead bodies were seen lying outside the prison on Thursday, and prisoners can also be seen in the back of a truck with armed guards.