Three Catholic clergy kidnapped by a gang in Haiti earlier this month have been released. However, seven other people, including a French nun and a priest, remain captured.
According to local police, the gang, known as 400 Mazowo, kidnapped 10 individuals earlier this month – 5 clergy and 5 lay people – in the town of Croix-des-Bouquets. The victims had been on the way to the ordination of a new parish priest at the time of their abduction.
The kidnappers had initially demanded $1m (€826,485) in ransom money for the return of the hostages. It is unclear whether the ransom was paid or not.
Haitian President Jovenel Moïse vowed to “do everything the law allows” to rescue the 7 remaining captives.
“Three of the seven clergy kidnapped on April 11 were released,” said Fr. Loudger Mazile, a spokesman for the Bishop’s Conference of Haiti when speaking to AFP.
“The French were not released. There were no lay people among those released,” he added.
There has been a massive surge in kidnappings lately, with well-to-do business people appearing to be the main targets. However, a wide variety of individuals have been victimised, including a Belize football team and religious clergy, with the local Catholic Church describing the situation as a “descent into hell.”
Belize football team bus held up by armed gang in Haiti https://t.co/BIs6JNnBnt
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) March 23, 2021
Earlier this month, armed gang members charged into an evangelical protestant church service which was being live streamed from the Hatian capital of Port-au-Prince, and abducted the pastor along with three worshipers. The four captives were released after an undisclosed sum was paid in ransom.
This just happened at my church in Haiti like 20 min ago😭😭😭😭🙌🏾🤦🏾♂️🤦🏾♂️🤦🏾♂️ please help😩😩 pic.twitter.com/cNWYNAKhFt
— HAITIAN LIVES MATTER 🇭🇹 (@marcbrianvil) April 2, 2021