Tue, 27 Sep 2022

WASHINGTON D.C.: U.S. authorities said there has been a recent increase in weapons smuggling to Haiti and the Caribbean, pledging to intensify efforts to combat the trade in guns, which is driving up crime rates in the region and enabling gang violence in Haiti.

The announcement came after several incidents of gang violence were reported in Haiti, including gun battles in the capital, Port-au- Prince, while the Bahamas and Jamaica are also reporting more gun-linked homicides.

"Not only have we seen a marked uptick in the number of weapons, but a serious increase in the caliber and type of firearms being illegally trafficked," said Anthony Salisbury, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Miami.

"We have been ramping up our efforts to stem the flow of illicit weapons into Haiti and the Caribbean," he added, as quoted by Reuters.

Coast Guard and Customs officials displayed seized arms, including handguns, semi-automatic weapons and a sniper rifle that were destined for Haiti.

Weapons exported from the U.S. normally requires licenses from authorities.

Since the 1990s, Haiti has been subject to an arms embargo, which has been amended to allow some exceptions for exports of weapons to Haitian security forces.

However, people purchase guns in the U.S. and illegally export them to the Caribbean, said officials.

Widespread anger has been felt over the steady flow of guns to the region, including recent arms-trafficking scandals in Haiti, such as last month's discovery of weapons in a shipping container labeled as church donations.

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