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Who is Jimmy ‘Barbecue’ Cherizier, the feared Haiti gang leader

By Nyaboga Kiage December 12th, 2023 2 min read

The leader of the Revolutionary Forces of the G9 Family and Allies, Jimmy Cherizier, has issued a stern warning against Kenyan troops being sent to Haiti to address the escalating chaos caused by over a dozen Haitian gangs, a move that saw the Caribbean nation seek assistance from the Kenya National Police Service.

Jimmy Cherizier, a former police officer, now considered one of Haiti’s most powerful gang leaders, has allegedly orchestrated massive massacres in his homeland.

His group controls strategic areas in Port-au-Prince, including Delmas, Martissant, Village de Dieu, Grande Ravine, Bel Air, Cité Soleil, Fort Dimanche, and more.

He has refuted claims that his nickname “Babekyou” (or “Barbecue”) stems from allegations of him setting people on fire.

According to him, the nickname originated from his mother’s occupation as a fried chicken street vendor.

Also read: Revealed: Details of the officers set to be deployed to Haiti

Despite being relieved from the Haitian National Police in December 2018, Cherizier, who served in the specialized Unit for the Maintenance of Order, continues to exert influence over the gangs.

His history includes alleged involvement in the 2018 La Saline massacre and the 2017 Grande Ravine massacre.

In June 2020, he announced the unification of various gangs under the G9 umbrella, tightening their grip on the capital. The G9’s control over key access points allows them to isolate Port-au-Prince from the rest of Haiti.

While Cherizier claimed to have been wounded in a gunfight with a rival gang in May 2021, the information remains unverified, with a Doctors Without Borders facility in Martissant denying treating him.

Previously linked to former President Jovenel Moïse, the G9 enjoyed impunity as long as they maintained street-level peace.

However, on December 10, 2020, the United States Department of the Treasury imposed sanctions on Jimmy Cherizier and two Haitian government officials for their alleged role in supplying equipment and weapons for massacres against the Haitian people.

More recently, on October 21, 2022, the United Nations Security Council unanimously imposed sanctions, including a one-year travel ban, asset freeze, and arms embargo on Jimmy Cherizier and others designated by the newly established Security Council sanctions committee, marking the first such measures against Haiti in five years (Resolution 2653).