Haiti police end gang blockade of fuel terminal, sources say

FILE PHOTO: Aerial views of Port-au-Prince

PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) -Haitian police have taken control of a fuel terminal that had been blockaded by armed gangs since September, three sources said on Thursday, ending a standoff that had triggered a humanitarian crisis and talks of foreign military intervention.

A gang coalition known as G9 blocked the entrance to the Varreux terminal in September, leaving the country without gasoline and diesel and forcing businesses and hospitals to shut their doors just as a cholera epidemic broke out.

Drone images of the entrance to the terminal shared with Reuters appeared to show that the access was clear.

A prior statement attributed to the government of Prime Minister Ariel Henry had said that fuel would be available on Monday. A diplomatic source said he was told by the government that the statement was not put out by Henry's office.

A government spokesman declined to confirm or deny the veracity of that statement.

Sources earlier had told Reuters that police launched a major operation to confront the gangs that resulted in heavy shooting. Police did not respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting by Harold Isaac in Port-au-Prince and Brian Ellsworth in Sao Paulo; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell and Rosalba O'Brien)