A notorious Haitian armed gang leader who has been a principal target of a weeks-long United Nations-backed crackdown on violent crime in Port-au-Prince, the capital, has been captured in a southern town and transferred back to the city with UN logistical assistance.
Evens, also known as Ti Kouto, who had been dislodged by the anti-gang operations in the capital’s Cité Soleil neighbourhood, one of the violence-ridden country’s most dangerous areas, in which many of his suspected underlings and weapons caches were seized, was captured by Haitian national police in the commune of Les Cayes.
The UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) “warmly welcomed” the development and congratulated the national police for its determination in tracking down Evens after he eluded several sweeps by UN peacekeepers and police, sometimes 600-strong, and their Haitian colleagues in Cité Soleil, including his home turf in the Boston quarter, since the beginning of the year.
“MINUSTAH also congratulates the Haitian people for the continuous contribution in the struggle against crime and to the re-establishment of security in the country,” the mission added in a statement.
MINUSTAH, set up in 2004 to help re-establish peace in the impoverished Caribbean country after an insurgency forced President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to go into exile, together with local police, captured scores of suspects during the crackdown, seized arsenals of weapons and ammunition, and restored badly needed health, medical and water services to the local population.
The peacekeepers rehabilitated schools that the gangs used as their headquarters, turned their lairs into social service centres and built fields and other facilities for a population that has suffered from years of gun violence and extortion.