Haiti’s spiraling security situation has become “critical,” said the UN Security Council on Wednesday, March 6, as armed gangs threaten a full-scale civil war.

The UN Security Council expressed its concern over the deteriorating situation in violence-gripped Haiti on Wednesday, as Washington ramped up pressure on absent Prime Minister Ariel Henry to secure a political settlement.

Armed gangs that control swaths of the country launched a coordinated effort to oust Henry last week, attacking the airport, prisons, and police stations while threatening a full-scale civil war.

The United States on Wednesday called for Henry to take steps to “finalize a political accord,” but did not urge his resignation — a key demand of powerful gang leader Jimmy “Barbecue” Cherizier.

In power since the 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moise, Henry was due to leave office in February but instead agreed to a power-sharing deal with the opposition until new elections are held.

Cherizier warned Tuesday that the worsening chaos would lead to civil war and mass bloodshed unless Henry stood down. At least 15,000 people have fled the worst-hit parts of Port-au-Prince.

Amid the latest unrest, Prime Minister Henry has been unable to return home.

He was in Kenya to push for the deployment of a UN-backed multinational police mission to help stabilize his country when the attempt to oust him began.

Gunfire has shut down some flights at Toussaint Louverture International Airport, and Henry was denied permission to land in the neighboring Dominican Republic on Tuesday.

The government has declared a state of emergency and a nighttime curfew, which has been extended through Wednesday. No elections have taken place since 2016, and the presidency remains vacant.

After months of delays, the UN Security Council finally gave its greenlight in October for a multinational policing mission led by Kenya, but that deployment has been stalled by Kenyan courts.

Nairobi and Port-au-Prince signed a bilateral agreement on Friday on the mission, but it remains without a firm start date.

With AFP