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Haiti police seize main oil terminal from gangs

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(Photo: AFP)

PORT-AU-PRINCE  — Haitian police on Friday said they had gained control of the country’s main oil terminal, which had been in the hands of armed gangs for months, although clashes were reported to be still ongoing in the area.اضافة اعلان

“Police carried out an operation from Wednesday to Thursday with an aim of allowing the resumption of activity at the main oil terminal, which was hijacked by armed men,” Haiti’s national police said on Facebook.

“Several police units were deployed using armored vehicles to dislodge the bandits” from the Varreux oil terminal, southwest of the capital Port-au-Prince, it added.

Armored vehicles and men in uniform could be seen in a video posted on the police Facebook page showing “the operations that led to the release of the Varreux Terminal”.

Despite retaking the facility, however, “the operation continues,” a police source told AFP late Friday.

Another source close to the company that manages the site added that “clashes continued between the police and bandits.”

Varreux supplies most of the oil products used in Haiti.

It fell under the control of gang leader Jimmy Cherizier, nicknamed “Barbecue”, on September 12, although gangs had moved in earlier.

The blockade of the facility led to a virtual paralysis of the country, aggravating the security, political and humanitarian crisis in the poor Caribbean nation.

The lack of fuel has also interrupted the distribution of drinking water, which is crucial in the fight against a cholera outbreak which is Haiti’s latest woe.

Discussions are underway at the UN regarding the possibility of sending an international armed force to restore calm, following a call from the Haitian government.

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