17 U.S. missionaries kidnapped in Haiti, non secular group says – Nationwide | Globalnews.ca

17 U.S. missionaries kidnapped in Haiti, religious group says - National | Globalnews.ca

2021-10-17 18:12:12

A bunch of 17 U.S. missionaries together with youngsters was kidnapped by a gang in Haiti on Saturday, in keeping with a voice message despatched to numerous non secular missions by a company with direct information of the incident.

The missionaries had been on their method house from constructing an orphanage, in keeping with a message from Ohio-based Christian Help Ministries.

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“It is a particular prayer alert,” the one-minute message mentioned. “Pray that the gang members would come to repentance.”

The message says the mission’s area director is working with the U.S. Embassy, and that the sphere director’s household and one different unidentified man stayed on the ministry’s base whereas everybody else visited the orphanage.

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No different particulars had been instantly obtainable.

A U.S. authorities spokesperson mentioned they had been conscious of the experiences on the kidnapping.

“The welfare and security of U.S. residents overseas is without doubt one of the highest priorities of the Division of State,” the spokesperson mentioned, declining additional remark.

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Haiti is as soon as once more combating a spike in gang-related kidnappings that had diminished after President Jovenel Moise was fatally shot at his non-public residence on July 7, and following a 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck southwest Haiti in August and killed greater than 2,200 individuals.

Gangs have demanded ransoms starting from a pair hundred {dollars} to greater than $1 million, in keeping with authorities.

Final month, a deacon was killed in entrance of a church within the capital of Port-au-Prince and his spouse kidnapped, certainly one of dozens of people that have been kidnapped in current months.

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At the least 328 kidnapping victims had been reported to Haiti’s Nationwide Police within the first eight months of 2021, in contrast with a complete of 234 for all of 2020, in keeping with a report issued final month by the United Nations Built-in Workplace in Haiti often known as BINUH.

Gangs have been accused of kidnapping schoolchildren, medical doctors, cops, busloads of passengers and others as they develop extra highly effective. In April, one gang kidnapped 5 clergymen and two nuns, a transfer that prompted a protest much like the one organized for this Monday to decry the dearth of safety within the impoverished nation.

“Political turmoil, the surge in gang violence, deteriorating socioeconomic circumstances – together with meals insecurity and malnutrition – all contribute to the worsening of the humanitarian state of affairs,” BINUH mentioned in its report. “An overstretched and under-resourced police power alone can not tackle the safety ills of Haiti.”

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On Friday, the U.N. Safety Council voted unanimously to increase the U.N. political mission in Haiti.

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The kidnapping of the missionaries comes simply days after high-level U.S. officers visited Haiti and promised extra assets for Haiti’s Nationwide Police, together with one other $15 million to assist scale back gang violence, which this yr has displaced hundreds of Haitians who now dwell in short-term shelters in more and more unhygienic circumstances.

Amongst those that met with Haiti’s police chief was Uzra Zeya, U.S. beneath secretary of state for civilian safety, democracy, and human rights.

“Dismantling violent gangs is significant to Haitian stability and citizen safety,” she lately tweeted.

AP reporter Evens Sanon in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, contributed to this report.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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