Haiti is bracing for a shutdown of the public transportation system on Thursday after bus owners called on the government to do more to prevent their vehicles from being robbed by armed gangs.
The announcement by the President of the Association of Owners and Drivers of Haiti, Changeux Méhu, comes as health workers including doctors and nurses staged a protest following an increase in gang-related kidnappings targeting health workers.
On Monday, eight public transport vehicles carrying passengers were robbed by armed gangs and Méhu said his members had decided on a four-day strike, beginning on Thursday to protest against insecurity in the French-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country.
The authorities are also having to face protest action by the Bar of Lawyers of Port-au-Prince, whose members have issued an ultimatum to the government to relocate the Courthouse of Port-au-Prince, due to the wave of criminal activity in the capital.
The lawyers have warned that if by March 25, the authorities have not adequately responded to their request, they will stage regular gatherings in front of the official residence of Prime Minister Dr. Ariel Henry.
Meanwhile, the authorities are reporting that 13 days after he was abducted by fake police officers, Dr. Pierre Boncy has been released
The Executive Director of the Haitian Medical Association (AMH) Dr. Claude Suréna confirmed the release of Dr. Boncy, but that there has been no news regarding gynecologist, Dr. Michel D’Alexis who had been kidnapped with the urologist.
The two medical doctors had been abducted by men pretending to be lawyers in the company of a man claiming to be a lawyer. They were handcuffed and bundled into a vehicle.
Meantime, a three-day strike by Haiti’s health officials have shut down public and private health institutions in the capital of Port-au-Prince and beyond, with only emergency rooms accepting patients.
Kidnappings in Haiti increased 180 percent in the past year, with 655 of them reported to police, according to a mid-February report by the United Nations Security Council. Authorities believe the number is much higher since many kidnappings go unreported.
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