Kidnapping in Haiti: Two of 17 US hostages released

PUERTO PRINCIPE, HAITI – Two of 17 members of a group of missionaries who were kidnapped in Haiti on Oct. 16 were released this Sunday. They are safe, “in good spirits and being cared for,” according to the religious organization to which they belong in the United States.

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The Christian Aid Ministries, a non-profit organization that provides community services in several countries, issued a statement guaranteeing the good health of the two Americans, but did not offer information on who they were, why they were released and where they are.

In the text, the organization asks for prayers for those still held hostage. – We encourage you to continue to pray for the situation to be resolved completely. As we glorify this freedom, our hearts go out to the 15 people who are still kidnapped – announced Christian Aid Ministries.

The missionary association had reported on an official website that the group of 17 hostages is made up of six men and six women, aged between 18 and 48, and five minors: an eight-month-old baby, two children aged between three and six and two teenagers aged 13 and 15 years.

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tension in haiti

A violent gang kidnapped 16 American missionaries and one Canadian during a philanthropic trip in October of this year. Between eight and ten in the morning, a group of heavily armed men set up barricades on Carrefour Boen and La Tremblay 17, on the Ganthier road that leads to the capital’s airport, and stopped the bus transporting the 17 religious returning from a visit to a children’s hospital. The kidnappers asked for $1 million for the release of each of the hostages (about R$95 million in total) according to the American newspaper The Wall Street Journal.

This is the most emblematic, but not the only kidnapping case in the country. Armed gangs dominated Haiti after the assassination of President Jovenel Moïsee on 7 July this year, and found a way to gain power and money in kidnappings, which led to 221 of them being registered between July and September – more than two people per day. Kidnapping foreigners, especially, has been a very lucrative business for gangs.

The Center for Analysis and Research on Human Rights (CARDH) reported in late October that since January at least 782 people had been abducted for ransom in Haiti. During the whole year of 2020, a total of 796 kidnappings were registered.

The Haitian population is in fear and revolt. In the streets, general strikes have become frequent: participants have protested against the violence and the high number of kidnappings, the lack of fuel, the high prices of the most basic foods and the lack of political influence that prevails in the country.

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