As announced during several services at his Bethesda Pool church, Marcorel Zidor, also known as Chérubin and Pastor Marco, led hundreds of his followers in a march to Canaan on the afternoon of Saturday, August 26, 2023, with the aim of ousting the gang led by Jeff (an ally of the 5 Secondes and Gran Ravin gangs).
Upon reaching the locality named Rosenberg, these faithful followers, armed with spears, machetes, and sticks, found themselves caught in a crossfire with the bandits, who opened fire on them. In viral videos on social media, at least seven followers can be seen lying in their own blood, some with gunshot wounds (some sought refuge in abandoned houses), while others were held hostage and tortured. The number of fatalities may reach around twenty or even more.
Since the march was publicly announced, the police and judicial authorities in the concerned municipalities should have taken all necessary measures to prevent it. Therefore, there is a dual responsibility to establish, both on the part of these authorities and Marcorel Zidor, alias Chérubin.
This massacre is indicative of the state’s inability to protect its distressed citizens. Beyond internal issues, the national police force is a subpar security force. It had around 3,000 agents responsible for security tasks for 12 million inhabitants, without helicopters, without cutting-edge technologies, without appropriate drones (stealthy and equipped), and without a standard command center. This workforce is likely reduced because, in the first six months of 2023, the police lost 800 members due to the humanitarian parole program, layoffs, retirement, and deaths.
Simultaneously, the international community seems to be making promises without concrete actions. Politicians appear more focused on power struggles, either due to the fact that two years after President Jovenel Moïse’s assassination, the country still lacks a president, or in anticipation of the upcoming elections. Gangs are taking advantage of this situation to strengthen themselves, expanding their territories and seeking revenge on the population that had resorted to « Bwa Kale » (270 executions from April 24 to August 24).
For the umpteenth time, he Center for Analysis and Research in Human Rights (CARDH) urgently recommends that the government and the international community provide appropriate and adequate resources to the police and activate the armed forces to limit the gangs’ progress. In the event of a favorable vote by the Security Council on September 15, authorizing the deployment of a multinational force in Haiti, it will take some time to deploy due to logistical and equipment needs, troop deployments, and funding (between 200 and 400 million U.S. dollars per year).
Port-au-Prince, August 28, 2023