Several US missionaries, family members kidnapped in Haiti

A group of between 15 and 17 people, including children, were kidnapped by an armed gang in the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince, security sources say.

More than 600 kidnappings were recorded in the first three quarters of 2021 in Haiti. (Robenson Sanon / Reuters)

About 17 US Christian missionaries were kidnapped by a gang in Haiti, according to local security sources.

Amongst the kidnapped are family members and children.

The kidnapping on Saturday happened in the country’s capital Port-au-Prince.

According to the New York Times, they were abducted from a bus headed to the airport to drop off some members of the group before continuing to another destination in Haiti.

A spokesperson for the US government declined to provide any information.

“The welfare and safety of US citizens abroad is one of the highest priorities of the Department of State,” the official said.

Rising violence

Armed gangs, which for years have controlled the poorest districts of the Haitian capital, have extended their hold to other parts of Port-au-Prince and its surroundings, sowing terror with kidnappings.

More than 600 kidnappings were recorded in the first three quarters of 2021, compared with 231 over the same period last year, according to the Center for Analysis and Research in Human Rights, a civil society group based in the Haitian capital.

For years, Haiti has been paralysed by a deep political and economic crisis, and the July assassination of President Jovenel Moise plunged the Caribbean country even further turmoil.

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