some 15 American missionaries kidnapped This Saturday by a criminal gang in the suburbs of Port-au-Prince, in Haiti.
between 15 and 17 Americans, Among them are childrenIn the hands of an armed gang that was carrying it out Kidnapping and theft In the area between the capital of Haiti and the border with the Dominican Republic.
AFP quoted a source who indicated that it was not yet possible to confirm whether the kidnappers had asked for a ransom payment.
When asked about the matter, a US government spokesperson responded: “The welfare and safety of US citizens abroad is one of our highest priorities at the State Department. We know this information and have nothing to add at this time.”
Last Saturday morning, a gang called “400 mawozo” diverted a number of cars that drove through the roads it controlled and kidnapped Americans and Haitian citizens.
According to the accounts of witnesses, missionaries and their families They came back from visiting an orphanage It is located about 30 km from Port-au-Prince when they were surprised by the criminals.
For some members of that religious organization based in Ohio, United States, this was His first trip to Haiti.
And in April, that gang in the same area kidnapped 10 people, including French religious people. After 20 days of captivity, they were all released. Father Michel Briand said at the time that the group was “in a bad place and at a bad time” and that their kidnappers did not plan to kidnap them.
Armed gangs, who for years controlled the poorest neighborhoods of the Haitian capital, have taken over extend its power to Port-au-Prince and its surroundings, where the number of kidnappings for the purpose of extortion is increasing.
Haiti is once again seeing a sharp rise in gang-related kidnappings. This crisis was exacerbated by the assassination of President Jovenel Moise at his private residence on July 7 and a 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck the southeast in August and killed more than 2,200 people.
The gangs demanded ransoms of thousands of dollars in excess of one million dollars, according to the authorities.
There have been dozens of kidnappings in recent months. Last week, a deacon was murdered outside a church in the capital, Port-au-Prince, and his wife was arrested.
In April, a gang kidnapped five priests and two nuns, sparking a protest similar to the one called Monday to decry insecurity in the impoverished country.
more than 600 crimes Of this type, it was recorded in the first three quarters of 2021, compared to 231 in the same period in 2020, according to the Center for Analysis and Research in Human Rights, based in the Haitian capital.
A deep political crisis has crippled Haiti’s social and economic development for many years.
The The assassination of the President on July 7 Jovenel Moyes by an armed commando at his private residence plunges the Caribbean nation into uncertainty.
Special Envoy Joe Biden resigns for Haiti
In the midst of the crisis in Haiti, the Joe Biden administration’s special envoy resigned at the end of September in protest of the expulsions. “Inhumane” A large number of Haitian immigrants return to their homeland devastated by civil wars and natural disasters.
Daniel Foote was appointed to the position only in July, after the assassination of the Haitian president. Even before the immigrants were expelled from the small Texas border town of Del Rio, the career diplomat was deeply frustrated with what he considered No urgency in Washington and icy pace in efforts to improve conditions in Haiti.
Foote wrote to Secretary of State Anthony Blinken that he would resign immediately “with deep disappointment and apologies to those seeking decisive change”.
With information from Agence France-Presse