AMERICA/HAITI - Which of the 300 Haitian gangs kidnapped the 6 nuns?

Monday, 22 January 2024 kidnappings   nuns   banditry  

Port-au-Prince (Agenzia Fides) - There is still no news about the total of eight people (including six religious sisters) who were kidnapped in Haiti on January 19. The sisters, who belong to the Congrégation des Sœurs de Sainte-Anne (a congregation of pontifical law of Canadian origin), were kidnapped on the morning of January 19 when a group of armed men blocked the minibus in which they were traveling on Avenue du Chili. Once on board, they took the passengers (the six nuns and a young woman who accompanied them) and the driver hostage and then drove towards Alert Alley. "These kidnappings fill Haitian consecrated persons and people of good will with sadness and fear," the Haitian religious conference said in a statement calling on all Christians in Haiti to pray for the release of the hostages. There is currently no information about the armed group responsible for the kidnapping or about a possible ransom demand. After the Angelus prayer yesterday, Sunday, January 21, Pope Francis called for the release of the nuns and their companions: "I have learned with sorrow of the kidnapping, in Haiti, of a group of people, including six religious sisters: in my heartfelt plea for their release, I pray for social concord in the country, and I invite everyone to bring an end to the violence, which is causing a great deal of suffering to that dear population". Haiti has been experiencing a steep rise in kidnappings for extortion purposes in a country dominated by around 300 armed gangs who control about 80% of the capital Port-au-Prince. Last week, residents of the Solino district were blocked for four days by roadblocks set up by armed gangs seeking to pressure interim Prime Minister Ariel Henry before a political agreement to consolidate his power which expires on February 7. In order to restore a minimum level of security, a Kenyan-led police force is to be sent to the country on the basis of a UN Security Council resolution passed in October. The 1,000 Kenyan police officers scheduled to be deployed to Haiti completed their training on January 4th and are awaiting the decision of the High Court of Kenya, expected on January 26, which authorizes their deployment in the Caribbean country. The High Court will in fact have to rule on the opposition's lawsuit, which claims that sending Kenyan police to Haiti is unconstitutional because only the military can be deployed abroad. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 22/1/2024)