Haitian Journalist Hospitalized After Assassination Attempt


SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A well-known Haitian journalist survived an assassination attempt Tuesday that left his car riddled with bullets in the capital of Port-au-Prince, authorities said.

Roberson Alphonse, who works at the daily Le Nouvelliste and the Magik9 radio station, is hospitalized but is expected to recover, according to Frantz Duval, editor-in-chief of both outlets.

No one has been arrested, although journalists in Haiti have long been the target of warring gangs that have become more powerful since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in July 2021.

Duval thanked an unidentified person who said he rescued Alphonse and applied a tourniquet to stop the bleeding before medical help arrived.

Duval noted that the car had more than 10 bullet holes, adding that neither Alphonse nor any of his colleagues were available for comment.

“Health is the absolute priority,” he wrote. “Thank you all for your understanding”.

Haiti’s Ministry of Culture and Communication said it learned “with horror of the news of the assassination attempt” that occurred in the Delmas neighborhood as Alphonse was on his way to the radio station to go to work.

“His rigor, his effort to be impartial and his sense of perfection make him a model for the profession,” the ministry said in a statement.

Many colleagues echoed the sentiment, including Widlore Mérancourt of the online news site AyiboPost.

“My friend, Roberson Alphonse could be anything he wants anywhere in the world. He chose Haiti. He too could have (earned) millions selling his rigs. He opted for integrity and independence. I love him and wish him the best,” he wrote.

Meanwhile, the president of the Haitian Senate, Joseph Lambert, demanded a judicial investigation.

The attack comes more than a month after two other journalists identified as Tayson Latigue and Frantzsen Charles were shot and set on fire while reporting in a gang-controlled slum.

In January, gang members killed two other journalists reporting in Laboule, a community south of Port-au-Prince.

The Miami-based Inter American Press Association has said this year has been one of the most violent for the press since record-keeping began in 1987.

Journalists also continue to seek justice for the March 2018 disappearance of freelance photographer Vladjimir Legagneur, who was last seen in the Grand Ravine area of ​​Port-au-Prince, one of its poorest and most dangerous.

The attack on Alphonse comes just weeks after Haitian leaders called for the immediate deployment of foreign troops as the country grapples with an unprecedented crisis. One of Haiti’s most powerful gangs surrounded a major fuel terminal more than a month ago, demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry while blocking the distribution of oil. Gas stations have closed, banks and grocery stores are operating limited hours and drinking water is in short supply as the country grapples with a cholera outbreak that has killed at least 40 people, with more than 1,750 suspected cases so far.

On Monday, UNICEF warned that the true number is likely to be much higher due to underreporting. The agency said it has only been able to find a third of the 70,000 gallons of fuel needed to serve more than half of the 16 cholera treatment centers in Port-au-Prince.

Associated Press reporter Evens Sanon in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, contributed.

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