NewsHaiti: Several US missionaries kidnapped inside - Desperate call...

Haiti: Several US missionaries kidnapped inside – Desperate call for help via Whatsapp: "Please pray for us!"

An armed gang kidnapped 17 people in Haiti, mostly US missionaries and their children. One of the victims managed to call for help via Whatsapp.

Update from Monday, October 18, 2021, 6.30 a.m.: After the kidnapping of 17 North American missionaries and their children in Haiti, further details become known. According to a report in the Washington Post, one of the kidnapping victims sent a desperate call for help via Whatsapp. “We are being held hostage, they kidnapped our driver. We don’t know where they’re taking us, ”the message said. “Please pray for us!”

Meanwhile, civil society organizations in the Caribbean country have called for the people to be released immediately. The situation of those affected is “diametrically opposed to human dignity”, criticized the head of the Center for the Analysis and Research of Human Rights in Port-au-Prince, Gedeon Jean, on Sunday (October 17th, 2021).

Kidnapped US missionaries in Haiti: criminal gangs are said to be behind the kidnapping

According to information from Haitian security circles, a gang called “400 Mawozo” had the 17-strong group on Saturday (16.10.2021) near Port-au-Prince under their control. According to the Christian Aid Ministries organization from the US state of Ohio, the abductees are five men, seven women and five children. 16 of them are US citizens, one is Canadian.

Haiti: Several US missionaries kidnapped – including children

First report from Sunday, October 17th, 2021: Port-au-Prince – According to media reports, a group around US missionaries was kidnapped in the Caribbean state of Haiti. The 14 adults and three children – mostly US citizens – were picked up and abducted by members of an armed gang on Saturday (October 16, 2021) not far from the Haitian capital Port-au Prince. This was initially reported by the television station CNN, citing security forces in Haiti.

According to the Washington Post, the abductees are missionaries from the evangelical aid organization Christian Aid Ministries, who are said to have found out about the abduction via a WhatsApp message from one of the victims. When asked, the US State Department confirmed that it was aware of the reports on the kidnapping, but no further information is available at the moment.

Chaos and unrest: Haiti is the poorest country on the American continent

Haiti, the western neighbor of the Dominican Republic, is not only affected by great poverty, but also repeatedly by unrest and natural disasters. Hundreds of thousands of people were killed here in a severe earthquake in 2010, and the country has still not recovered from the tragedy. Chaos and criminal gang violence are part of everyday life here – at the beginning of July the controversial President Jovenel Moïse was shot in his residence, the background remains unclear to this day. “The breaking up of the criminal gangs is crucial for the stability of Haiti and the security of the citizens,” wrote the State Secretary at the US State Department, Uzra Zeya, on a visit to Haiti on Twitter at the beginning of last week.

According to the Washington Post, Haiti currently has the highest kidnapping rate in the world in terms of population. The number of kidnappings in 2021 alone increased six-fold compared to the same period last year. According to police reports, the region where the missionaries were abducted is being controlled by a gang called “400 Mawozo”, which had kidnapped ten priests, nuns and family members of a cleric in April. This was reported by the Haitian newspaper Le Nouvelliste. The abductees were later released.

Large flow of refugees from Haiti: Mounted US border guards hunted Haitans

Much of the political landscape and security apparatus in Haiti has collapsed in recent years. Around half of the area of the capital Port-au-Prince is in the hands of gangs. For years, demonstrations against political corruption have been raging across the country, which was also accused of the slain President Jovenel Moïse. The unrest brought large parts of the health system to a standstill, schools and workplaces were closed, and some parts of the country were disconnected from the electricity grid.

More and more people are trying to leave Haiti for these reasons and are making their way to the USA. It was not until the end of September that photo and video recordings made headlines from the border area with Mexico, showing how mounted US border guards chased, rounded up and threatened refugees from Haiti with whips. (Sandra Kathe, Julian Dorn / dpa)

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