Seven members of the Roman Catholic clergy, including two French nationals, were kidnapped in Haiti on Sunday, a spokesperson for the Conference of Bishops of the impoverished Caribbean country told AFP.
The victims, including a nun and a priest from France, were kidnapped yesterday morning in Croix de Busque, near the capital Port-au-Prince, while “going to the ordination of a new parish priest,” Father Loudger Mazile explained.
The kidnappers are demanding a ransom of one million dollars, the spokesperson explained.
Police suspect the kidnapping was carried out by an armed gang operating in the area called “400 Mawozo,” according to a source close to it.
Ransom kidnappings have risen sharply in recent months, both in Port-au-Prince and in the countryside, as gang power grows and spreads in Haiti.
“Enough is enough! The time has come for these inhuman acts to stop,” said Bishop Pierre-Andre Dumas of the Haitian commune Miragoane. “The Church prays and stands in solidarity with all the victims of this heinous act,” he added.
In March, the Haitian government declared a state of emergency to restore state authority in gang-controlled areas, including in the capital.
The measure was due to armed gang actions that “kidnapped people for ransom, openly declaring it, stole and looted public and private property, and openly clashed with public security forces,” as stated in the presidential decree.