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Haitians strike over insecurity, demand release of US hostages Human Rights News


The FBI, the State Department’s diplomatic team, is working to locate and free a group of 17 Christian missionaries abducted by a gang in Haiti.

The streets of the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, were quiet on Monday as Haitians staged a general strike in protest of growing insecurity and gang violence following the abduction of Christian missionaries.

“The population can’t take it anymore,” said Holin Alexis, a moto-taxi driver who joined the strike.

The Associated Press reports that tire-burning barricades have closed some roads in the capital and other cities, with some people occasionally throwing stones at departing vehicles.

The FBI has been working with State Department diplomats to find and free missionaries in the poorest nations of the Western Hemisphere, which has been in crisis since the assassination of its prime minister in July.

“The president has been briefed and is receiving regular updates on what the State Department and the FBI are doing to bring these individuals back safely,” White House Press Secretary Jane Sackie said Monday.

Refusing to give additional details due to operational considerations, Sasaki said, “The FBI is part of a concerted U.S. government effort to engage with the security of U.S. citizens.” “

Port-au-Prince police, known for the brutal kidnapping and murder of a Haitian gang, have been charged with kidnapping U.S. missionaries, including 12 adults and five children. It was the largest such kidnapping in recent years.

The group abducted from the Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministry included 16 U.S. citizens and one Canadian. They said they were on a bus after going to an orphanage when they were abducted.

The US-based missionary group Christian Aid Ministry headquarters in Ohio was shut down Monday because a gang notorious for murder and extortion kidnapped 12 adults and five children over the weekend. [Julie Carr Smyth/AP Photo]

“We are entering the third day since seventeen of our workers were abducted by a gang in Haiti,” the Christian Aid Ministry said in a statement on Monday.

“Civilian authorities in Haiti and the United States are aware of and supportive of what has happened,” the group said, founded and supported by the Amish and Mennonite Church Group.

“We continue to closely monitor the situation and are in earnest,” the statement said.

Kidnappings have increased in Haiti since the assassination of President Jovenal Moises in July, as armed groups took advantage of insecurity, food shortages and the government’s political crisis.

Haitian police inspector Frantz Champagne told the AP news agency on Sunday that the Port00 Maoist gang had hijacked a missionary group in Gantier, the capital of Port-au-Prince.

The gang, whose name translates to roughly 400 “inexperienced men”, controls the Crix-des-Bouquets area, which includes Ganthia, where the abduction took place.

The Center for Human Rights Analysis and Research in Port-au-Prince has reported an alarming increase in kidnappings in Haiti, more than 100 in the first three months of 2021, up from 211 in the same period in 2020.

“The police have proved incapable of dealing with teams that are more well-organized and that control a larger area,” Gaddafi Jean-Agenton, director of the center, told AFP.





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