A criminal band kidnaps 15 US missionaries in Haiti

Some 15 American missionaries were kidnapped on Saturday by a criminal band on the periphery of Port-au-Prince, a source of Haitian security told AFP. Betwee

A criminal band kidnaps 15 US missionaries in Haiti

Some 15 American missionaries were kidnapped on Saturday by a criminal band on the periphery of Port-au-Prince, a source of Haitian security told AFP.

Between 15 and 17 Americans, among them children, they were in the hands of an armed band that for months makes abductions and robberies in the area between the capital of Haiti and the border with the Dominican Republic, the source said, who said not to be able to confirm If the captors have asked for the payment of a rescue.

"The welfare and safety of US citizens abroad is one of our main priorities in the State Department. We know this information and we have nothing to add for the time being," a spokesman for the US government told AFP.

On Saturday morning the band called "400 Mawozo" diverted several cars that traveled through routes that controls and kidnapped Americans as well as Haitian citizens.

The missionaries and their families returned from visiting an orphanage located about 30 km from Port-au-Prince, a security service source told AFP. For some members of that religious organization based in Ohio, USA, this was his first trip to Haiti.

In April 10 people, including 10 French religious, were kidnapped by that band in the same area. Released after 20 days of captivity, Father Michel Briand then said to the AFP that the group was "in a bad place, in a bad time" and that those who kidnapped them had not planned to kidnap them.

The armed bands, which for years have controlled the poorest districts of the Haitian capital, have extended their power to Port-au-Prince and its surroundings, where the number of extortion kidnappings is increasing.

More than 600 crimes of this type were recorded in the first three quarters of 2021, against 231 in the same period of 2020, according to the Human Rights Analysis and Research Center, based in the Haitian capital.

A deep political crisis paralyzes the socioeconomic development of Haiti for long years. The murder on July 7, President Jovenel Moïse by an armed command in the private residence of him plunged further to the Caribbean country in uncertainty.

Updated Date: 17 October 2021, 09:30

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