The weak Haitian government faced a new crisis on Sunday after about fifteen missionaries and their families, mainly U.S. citizens, were abducted by a mob near Port-au-Prince.
Haitian NGOs have called for the release of 15 to 17 people abducted on Saturday as they move east of the capital, where armed gangs are increasingly exploiting the serious political vacuum in the assassination of President Joanel Moss.
Security sources told AFP that the abductees included children.
“In the metropolitan area (Port-au-Prince) but also in the provincial cities the police were unable to confront the gangs who organized themselves further and controlled more and more territories.Gédéon Jean, director of the Center for Analysis and Research on Human Rights, called for the release of the group.
“Nature hates a vacuum, so gangs use it to strengthen themselves“, He explained the proliferation of gangs.”Absence of government“.
When asked by the AFP, Haitian police did not immediately respond.
According to security sources, the mob called as the missionaries and their families were returning from an orphanage about 30 kilometers east of the Haitian capital. “400 points“They hijacked several vehicles traveling on the highways they controlled and abducted American citizens.
For some members of a religious organization based in Ohio, USA, this is their first trip to Haiti.
One of the abductees sent a bad message to the WhatsApp group, quoting the Washington Post, who knew the details of the case, at the time of the incident.
“Pray for us !! We were taken hostage and they kidnapped our driver. Pray Pray. We do not know where they are taking us“, According to the Daily News.
U.S. officials have so far limited themselves in what they say. “The welfare and security of U.S. citizens abroad is one of the State Department’s priorities“.
“We are aware of this information and currently have nothing to add“, A State Department spokesman repeated on Sunday.
Ahead of the abduction on Saturday, trade unions and businesses in Port-au-Prince had already called for an indefinite strike from Monday against the growing insecure climate.
In April, 10 people of two French religions were abducted by a mob for 20 days.400 points“In the same area.
For years armed groups controlling the poorer districts of the Haitian capital have extended their power to Port-au-Prince and its environs, where they have been increasing the number of villainous abductions.
The Center for Human Rights Analysis and Research reports that more than 600 cases were registered in the first three quarters of 2021 against 231 in the same period of 2020.
They have been demanding ransom money, sometimes more than a million dollars, from the families of victims living below the poverty line for decades..
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