Haitian security sources told AFP that a gang in an urban area east of Port-au-Prince had kidnapped fifteen American missionaries on Saturday afternoon.
Fifteen to 17 American citizens, including children from missionary families, have been in the hands of an armed gang that has been multiplying vicious kidnappings and thefts in the area between the Haitian capital and the border of the Dominican Republic for months. If the demand for ransom is released, Saturday evening is an unspecified source.
The well-being and security of American citizens abroad is one of our top priorities in the State Department. We know this information and have nothing to add at the moment, “said an American government spokesman.
Over the years armed groups controlling the poorest districts in the Haitian capital have expanded their power to Port-au-Prince and its environs, where they are increasing the number of vicious kidnappings.
More than 600 cases were reported in the first three quarters of 2021 against 231 in the same period in 2020, according to the Haitian capital-based Center for Human Rights Analysis and Research.
Over the years, a deep political crisis has paralyzed Haiti’s socio-economic development. The assassination of President Jovnell Moyes on July 7 by an armed commando at his private residence has plunged the Caribbean nation into further uncertainty.