The bodies of two Haitian journalists killed on Thursday, were retrieved Friday and removed from the mountainous terrain of the Laboule 12 neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, a source in Haiti’s security forces told CNN.
Despite initial information from Haitian National Police shared internally and reported by CNN and other media outlets that the journalists – John Wesley Amady and Wilgens Louis Saint – had been burned alive, images of the corpses obtained by CNN on Friday show no signs of their bodies being burnt.
The images do show one of the journalists with a clear gunshot wound in his right temple.
The source confirmed the bodies were not burned, adding that members of Haiti’s National Police did not go to the scene of the crime on Thursday due to security concerns.
Without enough resources, the police were concerned they could face severe danger from gangs operating in the area, the source said.
Haiti’s National Police declined to comment when asked why their initial reports suggested the journalists had been burned alive or why they were unable to go to the crime scene themselves.
Amady’s employer, Radio Écoute FM, had also published a statement on Thursday alleging its employee had been burned alive.
The radio station acknowledged the error when reached for comment.
“We learned today that the bodies were found and had not been burned and we are very sorry for this misunderstanding,” said a station spokesperson, adding that the station had received faulty information from a variety of sources that led to the mistaken statement.
The radio station said Amady’s body had now been returned to the Haitian city of Les Cayes.
Amady had been on assignment for the radio station documenting the deteriorating security situation in the area. The details of how and why the journalists were killed remain unclear.
A GoFundMe campaign has been established to support the slain journalists’ families.
The attacks come against the backdrop of extreme violence and deteriorating security conditions in Port-au-Prince, with rival groups battling one another or the police for control of the streets, displacing tens of thousands of people in one of the poorest nations in the Americas.
In July last year, Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise was assassinated during an attack on his private residence, leaving a power vacuum that deepened the turmoil from the violence, Haiti’s growing humanitarian crisis, and the Covid-19 pandemic.
The United States on Tuesday arrested a Colombian man for his alleged involvement in Moise’s assassination.