Prominent Haitian journalist survives assassination news

A prominent Haitian journalist survived an assassination attempt in which he was shot dead in his car on Tuesday on his way to work in the capital Port-au-Prince, officials said.

Roberson Alphonse, who works for Le Nouvelliste newspaper and Magik9 radio station, has had two surgeries so far and is in hospital and expected to recover, according to Frantz Duval, editor-in-chief of both media outlets.

The incident underscores the deteriorating security situation in a country plagued by gang violence.

The Haitian Ministry of Culture and Communications said it was “horrified to learn of the attempted assassination” that took place in the Delmas neighborhood.

“His rigor, desire to be impartial and sense of perfection make him a role model for the profession,” the ministry said in a statement.

Haiti
Motorcyclists pass a burning roadblock in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, as anger mounts over fuel shortages that have worsened as a result of gang violence [File: Ralph Tedy Erol/Reuters]

Many colleagues echoed this sentiment, including Widlore Mérancourt of online news site AyiboPost.

“My friend Roberson Alphonse could be anything he wants anywhere in the world. He chose Haiti. He could also have made millions selling his platforms. He chose integrity and independence. I love him and wish him the best,” he wrote.

Duval thanked an unidentified person who he said saved Alphonse and applied a tourniquet to stop the bleeding before medical help arrived. He found the car had more than 10 bullet holes.

Body of another journalist found

The attack on Alphonse comes just weeks after Haitian leaders called for the immediate deployment of foreign security forces as the country faces an unprecedented crisis.

Also on Tuesday, authorities found the body of another journalist who had been missing for several days.

Garry Tess used to host a political talk show in the southern city of Les Cayes, according to the government’s Office for Citizen Protection, which said it was extremely concerned about the safety of journalists in Haiti and urged to protect them.

No one was arrested in either case, although journalists in Haiti have long been the target of warring gangs that have grown in power since the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in July 2021.

Meanwhile, Haitian Senate President Joseph Lambert has called for a judicial investigation.

The attacks come more than a month after two other journalists, identified as Tayson Latigue and Frantzsen Charles, were fatally shot and their bodies set on fire while reporting in a gang-controlled slum.

In January, gang members killed two other journalists reporting in Laboule, a town south of Port-au-Prince.

This year was one of the most violent for the press since records began in 1987, according to the Miami-based Inter-American Press Association.

Journalists are also still seeking justice for the March 2018 disappearance of freelance photographer Vladjimir Legagneur, who was last seen in Port-au-Prince’s Grand Ravine, one of the poorest and most dangerous areas.

foreign troops

The government’s decision to seek international security assistance has sparked anger and protests, with Haitians shouting “foreign occupation” and demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who had asked international partners for “the immediate deployment of a specialized force.” crowd” to stop the “criminal acts” of armed gangs across the country.

One of Haiti’s most powerful gangs surrounded a major fuel terminal more than a month ago, demanding Henry’s resignation for blocking oil distribution.

Gas stations have closed, banks and grocery stores have limited hours and drinking water is in short supply as the country battles a cholera outbreak that has killed at least 40 people, with more than 1,750 suspected cases so far.

US soldiers stand guard on the roof of the US embassy as they watch a protest in Port-au-Prince, Haiti Monday October 11 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti to reject an international force requested by the government and to call for the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry.  17th, 2022
U.S. soldiers standing guard on the roof of the U.S. embassy watch a protest opposing international security aid and demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry in Port-au-Prince October 17, 2022 [Odelyn Joseph/AP Photo]

UNICEF warned Monday that the true number of cholera cases is likely much higher given underreporting. The agency found it could only find a third of the 318,000 liters (70,000 gallons) of fuel needed to power more than half of Port-au-Prince’s 16 cholera treatment centers.

On Tuesday, the European Union said it was extremely concerned about the worsening situation in Haiti, adding that it had reached unsustainable levels.

“The EU regrets that political actors have so far failed to find a political solution to the crisis, while a humanitarian catastrophe unfolds and protests are being hijacked by gangs, escalating into violence, looting and territorial gains for armed gangs,” it said .

“The EU therefore urges all political actors to … engage in constructive negotiations to overcome the current political crisis and its security and humanitarian consequences.”

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