Haiti: Missionaries kidnapped one week without official data

This Saturday marked a week since the kidnapping in the capital of Haiti of 17 people, a group of North American missionaries and their families, without the authorities having offered official information on the evolution of the case, which has already caused the resignation of the Chief of Police .

A week later, there was hardly any movement in the streets of Port-au-Prince, where the fuel shortage adds to the population’s fear of becoming the victim of one of the indiscriminate kidnappings that have occurred for months, without details of these events, the same as in this case.

Neither the National Police nor the Government have made an institutional intervention to explain or confirm the data published by various local and foreign media to report on the abduction of the hostages, who are 16 Americans and one Canadian.


The missionaries are being held by the 400 Mawozo gang, which is demanding a ransom of 17 million dollars for the five children and twelve adults it has held captive since October 16, when the bus in which they were traveling after visiting an orphanage in the community of Ganthier, outside the capital, was intercepted by bandits.

All of the victims are members of the Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries missionary association in the midwestern United States.

The US embassy in Haiti is coordinating with local authorities to end the kidnapping, which is being investigated by the FBI, the White House reported two days after the abduction, making it clear that its policy is “not to negotiate” with whoever is kidnapping. its citizens and that the goal is to “bring them home.”

A motorcycle taxi as it passes a barricade. EFE / O. Swept


400 Mawozo, one of the most dangerous gangs in Haiti, has been spreading terror in the suburbs of Port-au-Prince for years and controls part of the town of Ganthier, where the abduction took place.

Recently, the gang has found its targets in churches and religious groups and another example of this is that in April it kidnapped ten people, including several religious, two of them French.

This new case is, apparently, the trigger for the resignation of the director general of the National Police, Léon Charles, who had been in charge of the force since November 2020 and had to deal with one of the biggest waves of violence in recent years.

Police officers stand guard in the streets of Port-au-Prince. EFE / O. Swept


The vacuum they left seems to have now spread to the rest of the capital and the country, although the main reason is the scarcity and cost of fuel, which keeps people in their homes and reduces commercial activity, leaving markets with almost no public. most populous of Port-au-Prince.

Those who can afford to travel by car find modest barricades burning in various parts of the city, such as Delmas 40, where drivers dodged the two burning tires and the cement blocks placed on the road, another form of protest the lack of energy and the crime that strangles the country.

A policeman and a civilian remove a roadblock this Saturday in Port-au-Prince. EFE / O. Swept


The troops that the Haitian Police have, about 15 thousand agents, are insufficient to guarantee security in the country, according to a recent UN report that considers that Haiti should have a minimum number of 25 thousand agents.

The police force will have to face a new national mobilization against fuel shortages and insecurity in the country, protests in which barricades, looting, burning tires, fires and shootings are common in various neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince.



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