17 American missionaries and their families kidnapped in Haiti, according to NYT

A group of up to 17 Christian missionaries from the United States and their families were abducted this Saturday in Port-au-Prince when they were leaving an orphanage, The New York Times reported.

According to the newspaper, which cites Haitian security sources, the group, which included children, was kidnapped by a criminal gang when they were on a bus heading from the orphanage to the airport.

Despite the deteriorating security situation in Haiti, the kidnapping of such a large group of Americans surprised local authorities, the newspaper said.

Kidnappings have become common in Haiti since the beginning of 2020, they occur indiscriminately and affect people of any social class, since they have become a source of financing for the armed gangs that control numerous neighborhoods in Port-au-Prince and other areas of the country.

As reported this month by the Center for the Analysis of Human Rights Research (CARDH), Haiti has registered an “exponential” increase in kidnappings in the last two months, with 117 in September, a figure that is 60% more than in August.

Since the beginning of the year, 628 kidnappings have been reported in the country, including 29 foreigners of three nationalities, although the CARDH indicates that this figure will increase as other countries provide data on their citizens.

The gangs granted a brief truce in the two-week kidnappings between the assassination of President Jovenel Moise, perpetrated on July 7, and his burial, which took place on July 23, but later reactivated their activity, according to a report by the UN office in Haiti referred to the Security Council on September 27.

The clashes between the gangs for the control of territories caused the displacement of about 19 thousand people in Port-au-Prince at the beginning of June, caused roadblocks and difficulties in the supply of goods to some regions of the country.

In August, the authorities had to negotiate a new truce with the gangs to allow the passage of humanitarian convoys destined to attend the areas affected by the devastating earthquake that caused great destruction in the south of the country, where there are at least 690 thousand victims . (With information from Latinus)

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