(AP) — A well-known Haitian journalist survived an assassination attempt on Tuesday that left his car riddled with bullets in the capital of Port-au-Prince, officials said.
Roberson Alphonse, who works at the daily newspaper Le Nouvelliste and at radio station Magik9, is hospitaliaed but is expected to recover, according to Frantz Duval, chief editor for both media. He said Alphonse has undergone two operations so far.
Also on Tuesday, authorities found the body of another journalist who had been missing for several days. Garry Tess used to host a political talk show in the southern city of Les Cayes, according to the government’s Office of Citizen Protection, which said it was extremely worried about the security of journalists in Haiti and urged they be protected.
No one has been arrested in either case, although journalists in Haiti have long been the target of warring gangs who have grown more powerful since the July 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse.
Duval thanked an unidentified person he said rescued Alphonse and applied a tourniquet to stop the bleeding before medical help arrived.
Duval noted the car had more than 10 bullet holes, adding that neither Alphonse nor any of his colleagues were available for comment.
“Health is the absolute priority,” he wrote. “Thank you to everyone for your understanding.”
Haiti’s Ministry of Culture and Communication said it learned “with horror the news of the assassination attempt” that occurred in the Delmas neighbourhood as Alphonse headed to the radio station for work.
“His rigor, his effort to be impartial, and his sense of perfection make him a model for the profession,” the ministry said in a statement.
Many colleagues echoed the sentiment, including Widlore Mérancourt of the online news site AyiboPost.
“My friend, Roberson Alphonse could be anything he wants anywhere in the world. He picked Haiti. He also could’ve (made) millions selling his platforms. He opted for integrity and independence. I love him and I wish him well,” he wrote.
Meanwhile, the president of Haiti’s Senate, Joseph Lambert, demanded a judicial investigation.
The attack comes more than a month after two other journalists identified as Tayson Latigue and Frantzsen Charles were fatally shot and their bodies set on fire while reporting in a slum controlled by gangs.
In January, gang members killed two other journalists who were reporting in Laboule, a community south of Port-au-Prince.
The Miami-based Inter American Press Association has said this year has been one of the most violent for the press since record-keeping began in 1987.
Journalists also are still seeking justice in the March 2018 disappearance of freelance photographer Vladjimir Legagneur, who was last seen in Port-au-Prince’s Grand Ravine area, one of the poorest and most dangerous.