The Haitian press “devastated” by the murder of two journalists

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Relatives of slain journalist Wilguens Louis-Saint were heartbroken on Friday after police provided details about his death.

Haitian National Police agents found the remains of Louis-Saint and Amady John Wesley, another reporter, in Fesa, a Petionville commune, an official confirmed to the Voice of America.

The two were stationed in the Laboule 12 neighborhood, a suburb of the capital Port-au-Prince, where gangs are locked in a battle for control, when they were shot and killed.

Prime Minister Ariel Henry has promised to find the criminals and bring them to justice.

Wesley worked for Radio Ecoute FM, while Louis-Saint reported for Tele Patriote and Tambou Verite, two online media outlets.

“We did not find any identification on them,” Justice of the Peace Eno Rene Louis told the VOA. “They suffered gunshot wounds to the head.”

A police officer commented that one of the victims also suffered gunshot wounds to the hands and neck and that the other had injuries to the mouth and nose.

Louis-Saint’s brother spoke to him shortly before his death.

“He had gone to repair his motorcycle, and the company he works for called him and asked him to do an interview at Fesa. And being in Fesa he ended up dying ”, said the brother.

Journalist colleague Robest Dimanche told the VOA that the murders have had a great impact on the local press. “We are devastated, we are extremely saddened,” Dimanche said.

“We learned that the two fellow journalists were killed by thugs while reporting. That makes us realize that our country has abandoned us. I think people need to wake up and realize what is happening so that we can make changes.” added.

Louis-Saint and Wesley are the latest in a series of murders of journalists that have gone unpunished in Haiti.

At least six journalists have been killed while working in Haiti between 2000 and 2021, according to data from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). No one has been held responsible for the murders.

CPJ on Friday urged authorities to find and prosecute those involved in this week’s killings.

“The Haitian authorities must conduct a swift and thorough investigation into the brutal murders of journalists John Wesley Amady and Wilguens Louis-Saint, and bring those responsible to justice,” CPJ said in a statement.

“We are shocked by the brutal murder of journalists John Wesley Amady and Wilguens Louis-Saint, who were reporting on security issues in a gang-controlled area in Haiti’s capital,” said Natalie Southwick, Program Coordinator for Latin America and the CPJ’s Caribbean in New York.

“The fact that the first murders of journalists in the Americas in 2022 occurred in Haiti … highlights the deadly risks that reporters face in the country,” he added.

Rampant gang violence has had a major impact on transportation, the economy, politics, and social life across the country.

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