Haiti police finally take control of Varreux fuel terminal, after months of blockade led by a coalition of gangs called G9, which controls areas in and around the capital Port-au-Prince.

A man walks past a burning barricade during a protest over the death of journalist Romelo Vilsaint, in capital Port-au-Prince on October 30, 2022.
A man walks past a burning barricade during a protest over the death of journalist Romelo Vilsaint, in capital Port-au-Prince on October 30, 2022. (AP Archive)

Haitian police have taken control of the Varreux fuel terminal and ended a gang blockade that had halted the distribution of petroleum products, the Haitian government said, adding that fuel distribution will resume on Monday.

Haiti launched a major operation to confront gangs on Thursday, in an effort to restore fuel distribution halted by the armed gangs in September.

The police operation began at mid-morning and resulted in heavy shooting near the terminal's main entrance, where the G9 coalition of gangs had dug trenches to prevent trucks from loading fuel, according to the sources.

"There is a big police operation in the area," said one of the sources, who like the other two asked not to be identified.

G9's leader, Jimmy "Barbecue" Cherizier, is a former police officer who has been the target of sanctions by the US Treasury Department for his role in a 2018 massacre.

READ MORE: Haiti requests foreign troops to combat armed gangs

'Humanitarian crisis'

The fuel blockade has created a humanitarian crisis so severe that the United Nations has discussed sending a strike force to open the terminal and resume fuel distribution.

Shortages of gasoline and diesel have crippled economic activity and forced businesses, hospitals and many schools to scale back operations or shut their doors. 

Also on Thursday, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk warned that unremitting armed violence has precipitated Haiti's descent into the worst human rights and humanitarian situation in decades. 

Urgent solutions to this "protracted, multifaceted crisis" must be found, he stressed

"People are being killed by firearms, they are dying because they do not have access to safe drinking water, food, health care, women are being gang raped with impunity. The levels of insecurity and the dire humanitarian situation have been devastating for the people of Haiti," Turk said.  

READ MORE: UN slaps sanctions on Haiti gangster 'Barbecue', others

Source: Reuters