A heavily armed gang surrounded the Fontaine Hospital Center in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince on Wednesday. The hospital is considered a lifeline to the community living in the Cite Soleil shantytown, which has been seeing violent attacks by gangs against each other as well as residents, APA reports citing DW.
The hospital founder and director, Jose Ulysse, told the AP news agency that gangs were setting homes around the hospital on fire, due to which people inside were unable to leave.
Ulysse had initially said some gang members entered the hospital, but later said none of them had come in, and denied reports that they had entered the facility and taken patients hostage.
"There was no hostage-taking. There was a gang war, but the war is around the hospital. We've had neighboring houses burnt down," he told the AFP news agency.
"All the health staff took cover... and we had to call the police to come and help us evacuate all the people who couldn't move on their own, among them women who had a caesarean yesterday and couldn't walk," he said.
Ulysse said Haitian police arrived with three armored trucks and evacuated 40 children and 70 other patients to a safe space. Some patients fled the scene on their own.
Ulysse said those responsible were members of the Brooklyn gang, led by Gabriel Jean-Pierre, also known as "Ti Gabriel." The gang has around 200 members and is involved in extortion, hijacking of goods and violence, according to a UN report.