VALERIE BAERISWYL/AFP / Getty Images
Port-au-Prince, Oct 21 (EFE) .- The director general of the Haitian National Police, Léon Charles, resigned this Thursday, after the kidnapping last Saturday of 17 missionaries from the United States and Canada.
Charles will be replaced by Commissioner Frantz Elbe, as announced by the Prime Minister, Ariel Henry, in statements to the newspaper Le Nouvelliste.
“The Director General of the Haitian National Police, Léon Charles, has presented his resignation to me. He has been replaced by Frantz Elbé (…) At the moment, there are still no other changes within the Government ”, said Henry.
Charles was in charge of the Police at the time of the assassination of President Jovenel Moise, on July 7, a case for which a dozen agents of the armed institution are being investigated.
The director was in charge of the Police since November 2020 and has had to face one of the most serious waves of violence in recent times in Haiti, caused by dozens of armed gangs that exercise their dominance in various areas of the metropolitan area of Puerto The prince.
The apparent trigger for Charles’s resignation is the kidnapping of 17 foreign missionaries, 16 of them Americans and one Canadian, occurred last Saturday when they returned from an orphanage on the outskirts of the capital.
Neither the Haitian Government nor the Police have offered official information on the case, although several sources from the Executive have confirmed to the media that the missionaries are being held by the 400 Mawozo band, that asks a 17 million dollar ransom.
In recent months, murders, robberies and kidnappings have multiplied, becoming a lucrative source of funding for gangs.
The clashes between the gangs for the control of territories caused the displacement of about 19,000 people in Port-au-Prince in early June, caused roadblocks and difficulties in the supply of goods to some regions of the country.
In April, a failed police operation against a gang left four policemen dead and one armored car destroyed, an event that led to the resignation of then-Prime Minister Joseph Jouthe.
The Haitian Police has about 15,000 agents in its ranks, an insufficient number to guarantee security in the country, according to a recent UN report, which advises the country to reach a minimum number of 25,000 agents. EFE
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.