On Monday, Haitian police confirmed that a civilian-organized lynch mob captured a group of gang members before beating them and burning them alive amongst gasoline-soaked tires.
Haitian police spokesperson Gary Desrosiers explained that the gang members had been roving the streets of the capital in a vehicle, which was in the process of being searched when the mob took over.
As the Daily Mail reports, thirteen gang members in total were somehow separated from police just before being arrested, and dragged into the street. They were beaten and stoned, then covered with gasoline-soaked tires and set ablaze.
In photos of the incident that circulated on social media, police can be seen amongst the crowd, seemingly unable or unwilling to control the hundreds who showed up to deal with the gangsters disrupting their communities.
According to Reuters, Desrosiers said the population's frustration was understandable, and that citizen-led campaigns could be effective. He noted, however, that "the collaboration we are seeking must be done without violence."
The situation in Haiti has rapidly deteriorated since former president Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in 2021. The current government has been unable to control the country's numerous gangs, which have been able to take control of around 60 percent of the capital city.
"The inhabitants feel besieged," the UN humanitarian coordinator for Haiti said on Sunday. "They can no longer leave their homes for fear of armed violence and the terror imposed by the gangs."
A separate UN report conclued that the gangs have "continued to compete to expand their territorial control throughout the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area, spreading to previously unaffected neighbourhoods."
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres explained that as a result of what has been deemed "one of the worst human rights crises in decades," "insecurity in the capital has reached levels comparable to countries in armed conflict."