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Haiti police retake control of vital fuel terminal from armed gangs

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Security forces in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, retook control of a vital fuel terminal more than a month after a coalition of armed gangs staged a blockade at the seaport, the government announced on Thursday.

Verreux fuel terminal in Haiti
REUTERS/Ricardo Arduengo
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Prime Minister Ariel Henry announced that fuel deliveries will resume Nov. 7 after weeks of shortages that have spurred a humanitarian crisis and forced businesses across the country to shut down. The Varreux terminal processes about 70% of all oil imports to Haiti.

"The government congratulates the Haitian National Police for the professionalism it showed today, in retaking control of the Varreux terminal that was under the control of armed men," his office said in a statement.

Neither the police nor the government reported any deaths or injuries during the takeover. The U.N. discussed sending a task force to stop the blockade, but it was never implemented.

Haiti has been in political turmoil since September when Henry, under pressure from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, slashed fuel subsides for oil, leading to violent protests across the country.

A coalition of gangs known as the G9 took advantage of the protests, and initiated their blockade of the terminal, stealing much of the oil for themselves. The blockade also complicated the imports of bottled drinking water and medicine, all while the country faces a worsening cholera outbreak.

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