Old cars, used tires and barbed wire block off the biggest neighborhood in the capital of Haiti
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Old cars, used tires and barbed wire block off the biggest neighborhood in the capital of Haiti.
Gun-toting gangsters have been robbing, raping and murdering the innocent. Weak or corrupt police and officials have done little, or worse.
Now, the people are taking action and a wave of brutal vigilante justice is roiling Haiti, concentrated in this capital of about 1 million. The vigilantes close off neighborhoods. They stone and often chop the limbs of suspected gangsters, behead them and set them afire, sometimes while they are still alive.
Vigilantes have killed at least 164 people since the movement dubbed “bwa kale” began in April, according to the United Nations. The name means “peeled wood” in Haitian Creole and insinuates male dominance and power in street slang.
“If you’re not from here, we’re going to kill you,” said Leo, a community leader who granted the AP access to the Turgeau neighborhood so that journalists could see how the neighborhood is responding to the gangs estimated to control 80% of Port-au-Prince. He did not provide his last name to protect his family.