The IPI global network today mourns the deaths of two Haitian journalists who were brutally killed by gang members on January 6. IPI strongly condemns these appalling murders and urges Haitian authorities to thoroughly investigate the case and bring justice to the victims and their families.

Journalist Amady John Wesley, who worked for the Montreal-based radio station Écoute FM, and local reporter Wilguens Louissaint, were burned alive by gang members on the outskirts of Haiti’s capital Port–au-Prince, according to media reports.

A source within the Haitian security forces told CNN that the killings were carried out by a gang called Ti Makak in the Petion-Ville neighbourhood of Port-au-Prince. A police official told media that a third journalist managed to escape.

The death of Wesley was confirmed in a statement by his employer Radio Écoute FM, which described the killings as a “criminal and barbaric act”. According to the station, the journalists were just about to enter a protected zone to interview a gang leader when then attacked by members from a rival gang.

“2022 has just started and tragically we are already mourning the deaths of two journalists who were killed simply for doing their job”, IPI Advocacy Officer Jamie Wiseman stated. “We urge Haitian authorities to thoroughly investigate this appalling murder and to ensure justice for the victims and their families. We also demand better protection for Haitian journalists, who have to work in a dangerous quagmire of violence and instability.”

In a statement, Radio Écoute FM also asked authorities to take responsibility and create safety conditions “that support all”. The radio station suspended its activity until further notice out of solidarity for the family.

In the area of La Boule 12 just south of the capital, where the murders took place, multiple gangs are currently fighting for control. According to news site Ici Haiti, the journalists were investigating the death of Inspector Dan Jerry Toussaint, who was shot dead last week by the Ti Maka gang.

Haiti has recently suffered from political unrest, gang violence and deteriorating security. In July 2020, President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated, leaving a power vacuum and intensifying the already high level of violence and unrest in the country. On New Year’s Day, Prime Minister Ariel Henry survived an assassination attempt.

In 2021, Haitian journalist Diego Charles was shot and killed by unidentified motorcycle drivers at the entrance of his home in Port-au-Prince. The attackers also killed political activist Marie Antoinette Duclear who was inside a nearby car.