Armoured vehicles from Canada land in Haiti: source

Armoured vehicles from Canada landed Saturday in Haiti, which remains locked in a conflict with armed gangs, a source with knowledge of the operation confirmed to CBC News.

According to publicly available flight data, a Boeing C-17 Globemaster landed in the capital of Port-au-Prince just after 12:30 p.m. ET after departing CFB Trenton in Ontario.

Haiti’s Prime Minister Ariel Henry recently called for international support to help in a fight against armed criminal gangs. In the past few weeks, the gangs have set up blockades, leading to a crisis in fuel supply.

“We wish to see our neighbours like the United States, like Canada, take the lead and move fast,” Bocchit Edmond, Haiti’s ambassador to the U.S., said earlier this week.

Henry had called for a “specialized armed force” to help Haitian police counter gangs who have been blocking the Varreux fuel terminal, located north of Port-au-Prince, since last month.

An alliance of armed groups known as the “G9 and Family” recently made demands of the Henry government, including an amnesty and cabinet seats. Gang violence in Haiti kills hundreds of civilians each month.

The news Canada would be sending vehicles was first reported in the Miami Herald and in Haitian publications, including Le Nouvelliste, on Friday.

The Herald also reported the U.S. would support a call from UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres for the creation of a rapid reaction force to help Haitian police.

  • WATCH | The growing humanitarian crisis in Haiti: 

    Haiti in the grips of humanitarian crisis as gangs block main fuel terminal

    Daily life for many Haitians has been thrown into turmoil as gang violence and soaring inflation make it difficult to access basic necessities like water, food and fuel. Canada is among the countries grappling with how to respond.

  • Global Affairs Canada did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Saturday. The Twitter account for Canada’s ambassador to Haiti, Sébastien Carrière, tweeted in the late afternoon an implicit acknowledgment that the vehicles had arrived, but he would not confirm the number or model, so as not to give away that information to gangs.

    On Monday, Global Affairs Canada said it was extremely concerned about the impact of armed gang activity that has reached “an unprecedented level.”

    Demonstrators in Haiti have also blocked access to the capital to demand Henry’s resignation amid violence, a cholera outbreak and severe hunger. As well, fuel prices have risen since the government announced a cut to subsidies earlier this fall.

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