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Newly chosen Haitian prime minister discharged from a hospital after spending a night in treatment

PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti — (AP) — Haiti's newly selected Prime Minister Garry Conille was discharged from a hospital Sunday after spending a night in treatment for an undisclosed condition.

In a video published on YouTube, Conille said he felt well and was “ready” to continue to help steer the country out of its current security crisis by forming a government that will also prioritize issues like health care.

In his video, Conille said: “The whole time I was at the hospital, I was thinking of something: People that need to go to the general hospital can’t get there (due to widespread violence). People who need health care can’t afford it."

Gang violence remains relentless in the Caribbean country, with three police officers killed Sunday and a fourth one missing, according to Synapoha, a police union. The officers were part of a new anti-gang unit, it said.

The violence has forced roughly 60% of hospitals in the capital city's metropolitan area to close, while gangs also loot and burn pharmacies and doctors are forced to stay at home on some days to avoid dangerous clashes between gangs.

Conille arrived in Haiti on June 1 after a transitional council selected him as the nation’s new prime minister. He had been working outside the country as UNICEF’s regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean.

The new prime minister has an arduous task ahead of him, having to quell rampant gang violence while helping lift Haiti out of deep poverty, with inflation reaching a record 29%, according to the latest data available.

In recent years, gangs that control at least 80% of Port-au-Prince have forced more than 360,000 people from their homes, and they control key routes from the capital to Haiti’s northern and southern regions, often paralyzing the transportation of critical goods.

Conille’s predecessor, Ariel Henry, was forced to resign in April, following coordinated attacks by gangs that seized police stations, raided prisons and fired on the nation’s main international airport while Henry was on an official trip to Kenya.

The Haitian government is now awaiting the U.N.-backed deployment of a police force from Kenya and other countries.

A person close to Conille, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, told The Associated Press on Saturday night that he was with the prime minister when he noticed Conille, who he said is asthmatic and sometimes uses an inhaler, appeared to have trouble breathing. The person said he called high-ranking officials and told them Conille needed to be taken to the hospital.

Conille appeared to be in good spirits in the video released Sunday, where he sported a purple shirt and spoke against a background of trees and bushes.

“I hope that by early next week we can have a government in place,” he said. “I am doing everything we can so we can get out of this crisis.”

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This story has been corrected to show that gangs fired on Haiti's main international airport, but did not seize it.

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