One week after the kidnapping of missionaries in Haiti without official data
This Saturday marked a week of 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 led to 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 fear of the population 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 has 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 had held captive since October 16, when the bus in which they were traveling after visiting an orphanage in the community of Ganthier, on the outskirts of the capital, was intercepted by bandits.
All victims are members of the Ohio-based missionaries association Christian Aid Ministries in the midwestern United States.
The US Embassy in Haiti is coordinating with local authorities to end the kidnapping, which the FBI is investigating, the White House said two days after the abduction, making it clear that its policy is “not to negotiate” with whoever kidnaps its citizens and that the goal is to “bring them home.”
The Canadian Mounted Police also confirmed that it is working on this kidnapping case, receiving the most media attention among all the abductions for months, whose victims are mainly Haitian citizens. However, there are other foreigners in captivity.
400 Mawozo, one of Haiti’s most dangerous gangs, has been terrorizing the suburbs of Port-au-Prince for years and controls part of the town of Ganthier, where the abduction took place.
Recently, the gang’s been finding its targets in churches and religious groups. In April it kidnapped ten people, including several religious, two of them French, who were released at the end of that month, an abduction that precipitated the resignation of the then prime minister, Joseph Jouthe.
This new case is the trigger for the resignation of the director-general of the National Police, Léon Charles, who was in charge of the body since November 2020 and had to deal with one of the giant waves of violence in recent years.
The outskirts of the capital have been hit hard by gang action, whose clashes forced 19,000 people to leave their homes last June fleeing violence.