PORT-AU-PRINCE: A Swedish tourist was fatally shot while walking with his girlfriend in a major commercial district amid what authorities are describing as a rise in violent incidents in Haiti's capital.
Yesterday, Sweden's consul general in Haiti, Gregoire Fouchard, identified the man as Johan Noren. The vacationer was shot in the chest Saturday evening during an apparent robbery on a well-traveled street in Petionville. Noren's Swedish girlfriend was "beaten badly" by the gun-wielding assailants but is recovering, Fouchard said.
The Swedish couple had missed a bus and were walking back to a hotel they had just checked out of when they were attacked, Fouchard said. Their hometowns in Sweden were not released. Police had not made any arrests in the incident.
Haitian National Police spokesman Frantz Lerebours said police planned to hold a news conference today to discuss what Haiti's Chamber of Commerce has called an "alarming" rise in violent acts intended to create a "climate of fear and panic."
Late last week, gunmen shot at a number of prominent businesses in Port-au-Prince, including telecommunication companies Digicel and Natcom, a Marriott hotel and a local bank. There were no injuries reported. The office of Prime Minister Enex Jean-Charles said the targeting of the businesses was a "savage act."
Noren's killing occurred two days after a medical student from Tulane University who was in Haiti as part of a school program was shot in the chest and hand during an armed robbery in Petionville. The student, identified as Bhumi Patel, was flown to a hospital in Miami and a university official on Friday said that she was able to "communicate with her family."
The Petionville district in the hills above downtown Port-au-Prince is the capital's major commercial center. It is a largely upscale district in the overwhelmingly impoverished country, with some hotels, shops and restaurants that serve wealthy Haitians and foreigners.