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Haitian Press ‘Devastated’ By Deadly Attack on Journalists

John Wesley Amady, one of the two Haitian journalists who was killed on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince after suspected gang members opened fire on a group of reporters, is seen in this picture obtained from social media on January 7,2022.

Family members of slain journalist Wilguens Louis-Saint were inconsolable Friday, as police officials provided details about his death.

Haitian National Police officers found the remains of Louis-Saint and Amady John Wesley, another reporter, in Fesa, a commune of Petionville, an official told VOA.

The two had been on assignment 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 gunned down.

Prime Minister Ariel Henry has vowed 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 found no identification on them," Justice of the Peace Eno Rene Louis told VOA. "They sustained bullet wounds to the head."

The law enforcement official told VOA one of the victims also sustained bullet wounds to his hands and neck and that the other also had injuries to his mouth and nose.

Louis-Saint's brother spoke to him a short time before his death.

"He had gone to repair his motorbike, and the company he works for called him and asked him to go do an interview in Fesa. And while he was in Fesa he ended up dying," the brother said.

Fellow journalist Robest Dimanche told VOA the killings have had a huge impact on the local press.

"We are devastated, we are extremely sad," Dimanche said. "We learned the two fellow journalists died at the hands of thugs while reporting. It makes us realize we've been abandoned by our country. I think people need to wake up and realize what is going on so that we can make changes.”

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

At least six journalists have been killed on assignment in Haiti between 2000 and 2021, four of whom were murdered, according to data from the Committee to Protect Journalists. No one has been held responsible for the killings.

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

"Haitian authorities must conduct a swift and thorough investigation into the brutal killings 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 killing 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 CPJ Latin America and the Caribbean Program Coordinator Natalie Southwick in New York.

“The fact that the first killings of journalists in the Americas in 2022 occurred in Haiti … highlights the deadly risks faced by reporters in the country,” she added.

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