Port-au-Prince (Agenzia Fides) - Kidnappers have released five priests, two nuns and two other people who had been held for nearly three weeks. The kidnapping took place on Sunday 11 April, and all the hostages are safe and sound. (see Fides, 12/04/2021; 17/4/2021).
Father Jean-Marie Rosemond Joseph, regional superior of the Fathers of Saint Jacques in Haiti, in a note sent to Fides, announced the happy news and thanks everyone for the prayers and support. At the same time, he emphasized that "even though the painful experience of our fellow brothers is over, we still have to continue to pray for this phenomenon to end across the country". "Our thanks also go to the Ambassadors of France and the United States, for their discreet and efficient diplomatic support, as well as to all the political and moral authorities of the country as well as the governments for their unwavering support".
The kidnapping was claimed by a local criminal gang. On April 14, the Haitian Bishops' Conference had asked Catholic schools, universities and institutions to join a day of total closure to "protest" against kidnappings and insecurity in the country, repeating the protest from 21 to 23 April (see Fides, 14/4/2021; 21/04/2021).
The event also had an echo in public opinion overseas, and showed the deep political crisis in the country, plagued by an increase in kidnappings for the purpose of extortion in recent months. Violence throughout the territory confirms the growing influence of armed gangs in the country, while the population is still waiting for the vaccination campaign against Covid 19 to begin. (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 4/5/2021)