A group of 13 suspected gang members has been beaten and burned to death by a mob in Haiti’s capital after being seized while police were searching their vehicle.
The suspects were reportedly beaten with gasoline-soaked tyres before being set alight in Port-au-Prince on Monday.
Police say they confiscated weapons from them just before the incident. They have not explained how members of the public got hold of the suspects.
Haiti has descended into increasing lawlessness since the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in July 2021.
The United Nations said in a report published on Monday that insecurity in the capital has reached levels similar to countries at war.
Armed gangs continue to compete to expand their territorial control and that clashes with police and rival gangs have “become more violent and more frequent,” claiming many civilian lives, it added.
Gang violence led to the death of nearly 70 people, including 18 women and two children, between 14 and 19 April alone, according to the UN.
Many schools and health centres have been forced to close and the violence has also affected access to many goods and services.
“The people of Haiti continue to suffer one of the worst human rights crises in decades and a major humanitarian emergency,” the report reads.
Since Moïse’s assassination, the Caribbean nation has been led by Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who has failed to rein in the gangs that now control an estimated 60% of the capital.
Mr Henry and UN officials have repeatedly called for the deployment of an international force to help police in their fight against the criminal gangs.
So far, no country has offered to lead such a force. The United States has been trying to convince Canada to take on the role but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has so far resisted.
Mr Henry has said it is key to providing security so that long-postponed elections can be held.