US tells citizens to leave Haiti after jailbreak

US tells citizens to leave Haiti after jailbreak


US tells citizens to leave Haiti after jailbreak

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(Reuters) - The United States called for its citizens to leave Haiti "as soon as possible" after violence escalated over the weekend, which saw 15,000 more people flee the fighting and armed men break thousands of inmates from Haiti's largest prison.

The United States, which is home to over a million Haitians, said its embassy would be offering limited operations on Monday while Canada said it would temporarily close its embassy.

This comes after Haiti's government declared a state of emergency on Sunday evening after violent clashes in the capital damaged communications and led to a prison escape as the leader of a major gang alliance sought to oust the prime minister.

Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who is unelected and came to power after the country's last president was killed, had recently traveled to Kenya to seal a deal for Kenyan forces to lead a planned UN-ratified mission to battle Haiti's gangs.

Between Thursday and Saturday last week, the United Nations estimated close to 15,000 people were forced to flee, including those already in makeshift camps for displaced people set up in schools, hospitals and squares around the capital.

The UN estimated earlier this year that over 300,000 had fled their homes due to the worsening gang conflict, which saw close to 5,000 killed last year.