During the latest round of violence in Haiti, heavily armed gangs tried to seize control of the country’s main international airport after gangs attacked the country’s two biggest prisons and released thousands of inmates. 

The Toussaint Louverture International Airport was closed when the attack occurred and had no passengers on site, but gang members exchanged gunfire with police and soldiers.

In an interview with “EWTN News Nightly” anchor Tracy Sabol, Stephen Destin, executive director of the Partnership for the Reconstruction of the Church in Haiti, said “international intervention is mandatory … to avoid bloodshed.” 

Destin said there’s “no possible way” to leave the country because “all commercial flights [are] being canceled,” while “the main routes in and out of the capital” are being controlled by gangs.

“The capital is pretty much surrounded by gangs,” he said. 

The airport attack follows two prison breaks, the looting of homes and hospitals, and kidnapping of religious sisters, brothers, priests, and other innocent bystanders. 

Bishop Pierre-André Dumas of Anse-à-Veau was injured in an explosion in Haiti’s capital on Feb. 18. Dumas was “outspoken” about the situation, Destin explained, calling the attack “suspicious.” 

“Right now, I really don’t feel safe,” Destin continued. “The area that I’m at right now is not [being] attacked. However, with 80% of the capital being under the control of the gang, the situation [has been] deteriorating.” 

“Right now we’re looking at a situation where international intervention is mandatory due to the fact that if we want to avoid a bloodshed, we definitely need some intervention [for] that [to] happen as quick as possible,” he said. 

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On March 3, Haiti declared a three-day state of emergency and nighttime curfew after more than 3,000 criminals escaped from two of the country’s biggest jails. 

“So you have over 3,000 … out in the streets,” Destin said. “And it’s causing really dire stress on the main system of the government.” 

“Those that have influence within other governments outside Haiti need to intervene and ask for the troops that were already approved to come and stabilize the country,” he said. “Because right now, the situation is dire. We are asking [for] help. This [needs a military] situation in order to avoid more bloodshed.”

“Right now I would call for the folks that are outside the country to pray for Haiti,” he said. “And second, to manifest the will for the international community to help, because right now we’re at a situation where without the external help, the country will fall into a state beyond emergency. We need to avoid the bloodshed.” 

Launched in 2010, the Partnership for the Reconstruction of the Church in Haiti is a collaborative body governed by a Joint Steering Committee with representatives from the Haitian Conference of Bishops, the Haitian Conference of the Religious, the apostolic nuncio to Haiti, the USCCB, Adveniat of Germany, and the French Conference of Bishops.

The complete interview with Destin can be viewed below.

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