Two of the 17 missionaries kidnapped in Haiti released | International

Father Milien, who was also held captive for 20 days by the 400 Mawozo gang, before the kidnapping of the 17 missionaries.
Father Milien, who was also held captive for 20 days by the 400 Mawozo gang, before the kidnapping of the 17 missionaries.Matias Delacroix (AP)

Two of the seventeen Americans kidnapped more than a month ago by an armed gang in Haiti were released and are safe, said the religious congregation to which they all belong, Christian Aid Ministries (CAM). In a statement posted on its website, the congregation said it received information that “two of the hostages in Haiti have been released,” after five weeks with no news on the whereabouts of the kidnapped group, said Christian Aid Ministries, based in Ohio, in a statement.

The 16 Americans and a Canadian, including five children, and the bus driver, a Haitian national, were abducted in October after visiting an orphanage in Port-au-Prince with which they collaborated. The incident has highlighted the serious security problem facing the Caribbean country, which is experiencing unprecedented figures of kidnappings and violence due to the economic crisis and the absence of powers. The missionaries released this Sunday are safe, “in a good mood and being cared for,” said the religious organization in a statement in which it refused to give the names of those released or any other information regarding the kidnapping. “While we rejoice over this statement, our hearts go out to the 15 people who are still in detention,” the statement said.

The kidnapping of the religious group was claimed in a video by a gang known as 400 Mawozo, something like ′ 400 of the town ‘who assured that he would kill them if he did not receive a million dollars per person, although it was not clear if the price included children. The United States government has urged its citizens to leave Haiti due to the country’s growing insecurity and severe fuel shortages, and Canada announced on Friday that it would withdraw all essential personnel from its embassy.

Kidnappings are our daily bread for Haitians. In a recent interview with EL PAÍS, Gédeon Jean, director of the organization (CARDH) that accounts for the violence in Haiti, described the new gangs of kidnappers as a combination of Mexican drug traffickers, Central American gangs and the former Colombian guerrilla in terms of their anxieties. of power. “There are about 200 throughout the country and they employ thousands of people, although at different levels. There is the one who sends data, the one who watches the streets, the one who executes, the one who charges, the trainers… there are many levels ”.

Violent gangs in Haiti are increasingly armed and have found a way to gain power and money in kidnappings. Between July and September, 221 kidnappings were recorded. More than two people a day, including merchants, street vendors, doctors, students, children and religious, many religious. The kidnappings became such a lucrative business that currently eight people are kidnapped a day, 119 in the last 15 days, according to the Human Rights Analysis and Research Center run by Gédeon Jean, a local non-profit group that counts 36 Americans kidnapped in 2021. According to Jean “In 90% of the cases they are released after several days and the case in which they are murdered is very rare. The objective is to have money and also to create a crisis and political destabilization ”, he pointed out in the interview.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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