UN News Service on ReliefWeb
United Nations Police (UNPOL) serving in Haiti have arrested two men who had escaped from jail and are suspected of being responsible for several subsequent rapes in camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) set up after the massive earthquake that struck the country at the start of the year.
The arrests were carried out late Wednesday night in the capital, Port-au-Prince, in a joint operation involving UNPOL’s operations office, its tactical intervention group and the Haitian National Police (HNP).
Jean Batiste William, also known as Ti Blanc, was arrested in the St. Bernadette camp, after camp residents called an emergency police number to report his presence in the camp.
Mr. William, who has been tried and convicted of rape, is suspected of being involved in several other rapes in the IDP camps since he escaped from jail.
In the second operation, another fugitive was arrested after his apartment in the Croix Deprez district was searched by police. That suspect is accused of several cases of rape.
The UN peacekeeping operation in Haiti, known as MINUSTAH, said in a press statement that its police would continue to support the HNP in operations such as those carried out this week as part of efforts to boost security and stability in the impoverished Caribbean country.
André Leclerc, a communications officer for UNPOL, urged Haitians to keep calling the public emergency number to allow police to locate and arrest criminals.
“The acts of rape are unacceptable and cruel,” he said. “Thanks to the joint efforts of the police and the public, we can reduce the number of these sexual crimes.”
Many inmates escaped from prison in the wake of the catastrophic earthquake on 12 January, which killed more than 200,000 people and levelled large swathes of Port-au-Prince.
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