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Haiti fuel terminal operations halted as gangs seize trucks

(Reuters) - Operations at Haiti's main fuel import terminal were suspended as armed men seized trucks and demanded the port be shut down, according to a source with information on the matter, likely exacerbating existing fuel shortages.

The source said gangs had blocked off several roads leading to Varreux.

"Fuel remains hard to find in Port-au-Prince, on and off," said a spokesperson from the U.N. World Food Program, warning of long queues at gas stations.

"We have stock at the moment and continue to provide fuel to humanitarian partners working in Haiti," the spokesperson said.

Armed gangs from the G9 alliance already blocked the Varreux terminal for nearly a month in October 2021, and again a year later for more than a month, halting most economic activities and prompting the government to call for a foreign intervention.

With most businesses unable to maintain power without their diesel generators, under the previous blockades hospitals were forced to shut down, radio stations stopped programming, mobile antennas ran out of fuel and transport was brought to a halt.

G9 leader Jimmy "Barbeque" Cherizier has said he wants unelected Prime Minister Ariel Henry to resign, but since Henry announced his intention to resign on March 11, he has spoken of a broader "revolution" against the elites and gang attacks in the capital have increased.

He had alsopreviously announced a broader alliance of gangs, known as Viv Ansanm (Living Together).

Local media reported that Viv Ansanm gangs were fighting police around the National Palace on Monday. A transition council meant to usher in a new government is set to be sworn in at the palace, though a date has yet to be confirmed.

Although the United Nations six months ago approved the intervention Henry had requested back in 2022, this has since been put on hold. Pending a new government, Henry remains nominally in charge though the government is largely absent.

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