(United Nations) “Terrifying” gang violence in Haiti is “spreading at an alarming rate” in areas hitherto relatively spared, the UN envoy to the country warned on Wednesday, calling on the international community Act.

Since the last assessment in January, “gang crime has increased. Gang violence is spreading at an alarming rate in areas previously considered relatively safe in Port-au-Prince and outside the capital,” Maria Isabel Salvador told a UN Security Council meeting. .

“The horrifying violence in gang-infested areas, including sexual violence particularly against women and girls, is emblematic of the terror that affects much of Haiti’s population,” she added.

“Interviews conducted by the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti show that gangs continue to use sexual violence, including gang rape, to terrorize and inflict suffering on populations living in areas under the control of their rivals. “, she insisted.

In a report released Monday, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said insecurity in the Haitian capital has reached levels “comparable to those in countries at war.”

Between January 1 and March 31, the number of reported homicides in the country increased by 21% compared to the previous quarter (815 against 673), and the number of kidnappings by 63% (637 against 391).

Maria Isabel Salvador, who has just taken office, insisted on Wednesday on the situation of children also targeted.

“Children are among the victims of the most heinous crimes, including murder, kidnapping and rape,” she said, referring to children shot in classrooms and abducted outside schools.

In this context, she repeated the call relayed for months by Antonio Guterres to send an international specialized armed force to help the police restore order.

” Hurry up. And the Haitian people deserve your urgent action” to stop “the vicious cycle of violence and political, social and economic crises”, she pleaded.

Antonio Guterres had relayed in October a call for help from Prime Minister Ariel Henry, asking the Security Council to send this force. But without result since: while a few countries have indicated that they are ready to participate, none seem to want to take the lead.