Port au Prince (Agenzia Fides) - The Bishops' Conference of Haiti (CEH) and the Conference of Haitian Religious have announced the closure of Catholic schools and universities from April 21st to 23rd. Catholic health facilities will continue their activities on a regular basis. With the initiative, the Church once again called for the release of the five priests, two nuns and two relatives of one of the priests who were kidnapped on April 11th in Croix-des-Bouquets (see Fides, 12 and 17/4/2021).
Despite requests from Catholic faithful, bishops, priests and religious and many civil society organizations in Haiti and abroad, the hostages have not yet been released, deplores the CEH in a statement published on Tuesday, April 20.
"The kidnappers do not seem to hear the voice of reason. Ten days in the hands of the kidnappers are too long. We see with sorrow that the situation of our brothers and sisters, who are in the hands of the bandits, has not changed", reads the statement of the bishops in the Port-au-Prince. The Catholic educational activities are scheduled to cease teaching from today, Wednesday, April 21st to Friday, April 23rd. The priests will however continue to celebrate mass. On Friday at noon the bells of all the churches in the country will ring again to demand the release of the hostages.
Meanwhile, the Society of Priests of Saint Jacques denied in a statement dated Sunday April 18, commented on the details of the kidnapping. "According to our information, the ransom is not supposed to be the only reason for the kidnapping of our brothers and sisters", said a note signed by Father Paul Dossous, Superior General of the Society. "It is immoral to pay the kidnappers the ransom. However, this will not prevent us from doing whatever is necessary to obtain the release that we urge. The text concludes by stating that society is committed to "to do everything possible so as not to complicate this regrettable and frightening situation and to enable a good outcome".
Since the end of 2019, Haiti has been subjected to a wave of kidnappings unprecedented in its history. Kidnappings happen almost every day and all groups in society are affected while the authorities seem powerless. (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 21/4/2021)