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Gang and police gunbattle paralyses area near Haiti's National Palace

Heavy gunfire erupted Monday in the downtown area of Haiti's capital as police battled gang members near the National Palace for several hours.
 
Local media reported that at least one policeman was shot after he and other officers were forced to flee an armoured car that was later set on fire.
 
Scores of people were trapped by the gunfire in downtown Port-au-Prince while dozens of others managed to flee.
 
The latest gunbattle comes more than a month after powerful gangs began attacking key government infrastructure.
 
They have torched police stations, opened fire on the main international airport that remains closed and stormed the country's two biggest prisons, releasing more than 4,000 inmates.
 
The violence has somewhat subsided in certain areas since the attacks began on February 29, but gunfire still echoes daily.
 
According to the UN, at least 1,554 people have been reported killed up to March 22 and another 826 injured.


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