More than 400 Haiti inmates escaped from Croix-des-Bouquets Civil penitentiary last week, according to the Independent.
The treacherous fiasco was the cause of 25 deaths in the mass-escape. The deaths included the prison director, innocent bystanders and notorious gang leader, Arnel Joseph. Joseph was Haiti’s most wanted criminal prior to his arrest in 2019.
While still wearing his prison ankle cuffs, the gang leader fled as a passenger on a motorcycle that was later flagged down at a checkpoint, police spokesperson Gary Desrosiers said. Once the officer caught up to the prisoners, the gang leader turned a gun on the officers who shot him. It’s unclear, (but suggested) that the mass-jailbreak was an attempt to free Joseph, whose charges included rape, kidnapping and murder.
According to inside sources, Joseph’s gang ruled a cottage town called Village de Dieu, or Village of God, in Port-au-Prince along with some other communities in the region. People nearby reported they heard bursts of gunfire at around midday on Thursday before inmates were seen fleeing from the prison. Staff at a nearby clothing store were allegedly forced to give items to the escaped prisoners.
Prison escapes in Haiti, the poorest country in the Caribbean, are not uncommon. It’s been reported that more than 200 of the 899 inmates at the Croix-des-Bouquets prison escaped in 2014. Crazy thing is… while police attended anti-government protests nearby, all 78 inmates of Aquin prison in Southern Haiti escaped in 2019.