Police take control of Haiti fuel terminal

Tanker trucks being filled with fuel at the Varreux terminal in Port-au-Prince, Haiti in November 2021

Security forces in Haiti say they have taken control of a major fuel depot held by criminal gangs.

The government says fuel distribution will resume from the Varreux terminal, in the rundown Cité Soleil area, on Monday.

The gangs seized the port facility in September, blocking the delivery of imported fuel and hampering efforts to distribute food and medicines.

The terminal supplies most of the oil products in Haiti.

It has been controlled and blockaded by a coalition of powerful gangs, known as G9, for more than a month.

The blockade has forced many businesses to close and complicated the distribution of petrol and bottled drinking water, while a cholera outbreak has worsened by the week.

All of this has contributed to civil unrest across the country.

The unrest has also escalated since Prime Minister Ariel Henry announced an end to government fuel subsidies on 11 September, which sent petrol and diesel prices skyrocketing.

Amid the turmoil, police launched an operation to take control of the fuel terminal on Wednesday. Gunfire was heard in the area throughout the day.

A day later, a police source told AFP they had succeeded in taking control of the facilities and were in the process of clearing the roads.

Neither the police nor the government stated whether any deaths or injuries occurred.

Prime Minister Henry congratulated the police for retaking the terminal in a statement.

The police operation follows a recent warning from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Voker Türk, that a “protracted, multifaceted crisis” in Haiti could descend into the country’s worst humanitarian emergency in decades.

The UN also recently urged all countries to suspend the repatriation of Haitian migrants to the country.

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