About 15 American missionaries were kidnapped at midday on Saturday (October 16) by a gang in a peri-urban area east of Port-au-Prince, Agence France-Presse told Agence France-Presse (AFP ) a Haitian security source.
Between fifteen and seventeen missionaries, including children, are in the hands of the armed gang which, for months, has been increasing villainous kidnappings and thefts in the area between the Haitian capital and the border with the Dominican Republic, said this source which was not able to specify, Saturday evening, if a demand for ransom had been emitted.
“The well-being and safety of American citizens abroad is one of our top priorities at the State Department. We are aware of this information and have nothing to add at the moment ”, commented to AFP a spokesperson for the US government.
An increase in kidnappings
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 they are increasing the number of villainous kidnappings.
More than 600 cases were recorded in the first three quarters of 2021 against 231 in the same period in 2020, according to the Center for Analysis and Research in Human Rights, based in the Haitian capital.
For years, a deep political crisis has paralyzed the socio-economic development of Haiti. The assassination on July 7 of President Jovenel Moïse by an armed commando in his private residence further plunged the Caribbean country into uncertainty.