PORT-AU-PRINCE – A U.N. report has found at least 26 people were killed during a 2018 massacre in a Haiti slum, at which several members of the police and a government representative were allegedly present.
Over two days, five armed gangs carried out planned attacks on residents in La Saline in the country’s capital, Port-au-Prince, according to the report, which was published Friday.
The youngest victim of the violence was just 10 months old and the oldest 72 years, the document reported. It said two gang rapes took place and 12 people are still missing.
Some 5,000 people live in the impoverished area under the threat of frequent violence, as gangs fight to control one of the largest markets of the city.
“The testimonies recorded suggest that the number of victims of the attacks of 13 and 14 November 2018 could be higher,” said the report from the U.N. Mission in Haiti and the High Commission for Human Rights.
Human rights organizations in the country have put the toll at 71 dead and counted 11 gang rapes.
The report said victims and their relatives identified the presence of local official Richard Duplan and three police officers in La Saline during the violence.
Witnesses said that as the armed gangs killed and carried out gang rapes on the afternoon of Nov. 13, Duplan had gone to the scene and told the attackers they had “killed too many people, this was not your mission.”
The report also said victims identified at least two policemen, who had previously been investigated by the inspector-general, among the attackers.
The U.N. criticized the inaction of the police during the violence, which lasted for more than 14 hours, adding that officers at La Saline police station could hear the cries of nearby residents.
Police failings gave the gang members time to dispose of evidence, with bodies “mutilated, burned and left in a public dump to the mercy of animals,” the report said.
It called on Haitian authorities to investigate the violence and alleged complicity of the police and state officials.