In Haiti, an armed group east of the capital, Port-au-Prince, kidnapped at least 15 American missionaries and their family members. He learned this on Saturday from a source in the Haitian security services.
The source said that between 15 to 17 US citizens, including children, are in the hands of the gang that has been carrying out kidnappings and robberies for months in the area between Port-au-Prince and the border with the Dominican Republic. Not saying whether a ransom was requested.
“The welfare and safety of US citizens abroad is one of our highest priorities at the State Department. We are aware of this information and have nothing to add at this time,” a State Department spokesperson said.
Armed gangs, which had controlled the poorest areas of Port-au-Prince for years, expanded their scope of activity to include the rest of the capital and its suburbs. According to the Center d’Analyse et de Recherche en Droits Humains in Port-au-Prince, more than 600 kidnappings were recorded in the first three quarters of this year, up from 231 in the same period in 2020.
A deep political crisis has crippled social and economic development in Haiti, one of the world’s poorest countries, for years. The assassination of President Jovenel Moisi on July 7 caused chaos and instability in the Caribbean country.