About 15 U.S. missionaries were abducted Saturday afternoon (Oct. 16) by a mob in an urban area east of Port-au-Prince, Agence France-Presse told Agency France-Presse (AFP) a Haitian security source.
Fifteen and seventeen missionaries, including children, are in the hands of the armed gang, which for months has been increasing the number of abductions and thefts between the Haitian capital and the Dominican Republic border, this evidence could have been mentioned on Saturday evening if the demand for redemption had not been released.
“The well-being and protection of American citizens abroad is one of our priorities in the State Department. We are aware of this information and currently have nothing to add.”, A U.S. government spokesman told AFP.
On Saturday morning, a gang known as the “400 Maoists” hijacked several vehicles from the highways they controlled and abducted American citizens and an unknown number of Haitian citizens. Security sources told AFP that the missionaries and their families were returning to an orphanage about 30 kilometers east of the Haitian capital. For some members of the Ohio-based religious organization, this is their first trip to Haiti.
Increase in abductions
For years armed groups controlling the poorer districts of the Haitian capital have extended their authority to Port-au-Prince and its environs, where they have been increasing the number of villainous abductions.
According to the Haitian capital-based Center for Human Rights Analysis and Research, more than 600 cases were registered in the first three quarters of 2021 against 231 in the same period in 2020.
Gangs do not hesitate to demand decades of wages from the families of victims living below the poverty line, sometimes demanding ransoms in excess of $ 1 million.
The majority of women abducted by criminal gangs are subjected to sexual abuse and rape, and human rights organizations condemn the inaction of the Haitian police.
Ahead of the abduction on Saturday, trade unions and businesses in Port-au-Prince called for an indefinite strike from Monday in protest of the growing insecure climate.
For years, a deep political crisis crippled Haiti’s socio – economic development. On July 7, an armed commando assassinated President Joval Moss in his private home and plunged the Caribbean into uncertainty.