Three of the seven Catholic clerics kidnapped in Haiti on April 11 have been released, the spokesperson for the Conference of Bishops of this Caribbean country in the grip of great insecurity told Agence France Presse (AFP) on Thursday. “The French are not released. There are no lay people among those released, ”said Father Loudger Mazile.
In all ten people, including seven religious – five Haitians and two French – were kidnapped on April 11 at Croix-des-Bouquets, near the capital Port-au-Prince, while on their way to the installation of ‘a new priest.
The group included four Haitian priests and a nun as well as two French from the west of France: a nun from the department of Mayenne and a priest from Ille-et-Vilaine who has lived in Haiti for more than thirty years. . Three people, family members of a Haitian priest who was not among those kidnapped, were also kidnapped. Haitians are predominantly of the Catholic faith and their country is the poorest on the American continent.
Kidnappings at the origin of a political crisis
The kidnappers demanded a million dollars in ransom. The police suspect an armed gang active in the area, dubbed “400 Mawozo”, of having been at the origin of this kidnapping, according to a source in its ranks.
The event which shocked public opinion beyond the borders of the island caused a deep political crisis in the country, plagued by an upsurge in kidnappings for ransom in recent months in Port-au-Prince and in the provinces, testifying to the growing influence of armed gangs on Haitian territory.
The Catholic Church had thus launched a few days after the kidnapping a strike call to denounce the inaction of the public authorities and “the dictatorship of kidnapping” in the country, according to the president of the Haitian Bishops’ Conference, Monsignor Launey Saturné . The President of Haiti, Jovenel Moïse, had announced to him on April 14 the resignation of the government and the appointment of a new prime minister, in order to tackle the acute problem of insecurity.
The article from March 19, 2021:
In Paris, an investigation was opened for “kidnapping and kidnapping in an organized gang”. It was entrusted to the Central Office for the Fight against Organized Crime (OCLCO).