An ex-police officer considered by many to be Haiti’s most powerful gang leader warned on Wednesday that he would fight any international armed force deployed to the Caribbean country if it committed any abuses.
Jimmy Chérizier, best known as “Barbecue,” also urged Haitians to mobilize against the government. “We are asking the population to rise up,” he said at a news conference.
Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who has led Haiti since the July 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, has been pushing for the deployment of a foreign armed force since October to help fight powerful gangs that are estimated to now control 80% of the capital of Port-au-Prince.
In late July, the African nation of Kenya offered to lead a multinational force, and the U.S. said earlier this month that it would put forward a resolution in the U.N. Security Council to authorize a non-U.N. multinational mission.
Chérizier said he would welcome a foreign force if it were to arrest the prime minister and people he described as corrupt politicians and local police allegedly selling ammunitions and guns in Haiti’s slums.