Ricardo Arduengo / AFP / Getty Images
PORT-AU-PRINCE – This Saturday marked a week since the kidnapping in the capital of Haiti of 17 people, a group of American missionaries and their families, without the authorities having offered official information on the evolution of the case, which has already led to the resignation of the Chief of Police.
A week later, there was hardly any movement in the streets of Prince Port, where the fuel shortage adds to the population’s fear of becoming a victim of one of the indiscriminate kidnappings that have taken place for months, without the details of these events being disclosed, the same as in this case.
Neither the National Police nor the Government have made an institutional intervention to explain or confirm the data published by various local and foreign media to report on the abduction of the hostages, they are 16 Americans and one Canadian.
Missionaries are held back by the band 400 Mawozo, which asks for a ransom of 17 million dollars for the five children and twelve adults he has held captive since October 16, when the bus in which they were traveling after visiting an orphanage in the community of Ganthier, on the outskirts of the capital, he was intercepted by bandits.
All victims are members of the missionaries association Christian Aid Ministries, based in Ohio, in the midwest of USA.
The US embassy in Haiti is coordinating with local authorities to end the kidnapping, which is being investigated by the FBI, the White House reported two days after the abduction, making it clear that its policy is not to negotiate with whoever kidnaps its citizens and that the goal is to bring them home.
Also the Mounted Police of Canada He confirmed that he is working on this kidnapping case, the one that is receiving the most media attention of all the kidnappings that have occurred for months, whose victims are mainly Haitian citizens, although there are other foreigners in captivity.
400 Mawozo, one of the most dangerous gangs in Haiti, has been sowing terror in the suburbs of Port-au-Prince for years and controls part of the town of Ganthier, where the rapture occurred.
Recently, the gang has found its targets in churches and religious groups and another example of this is that in April it kidnapped ten people, including several religious, two of them French, who were released at the end of that month, a rape that precipitated their resignation. of the then prime minister, Joseph Jouthe.
This new case is, apparently, the trigger for the resignation of the director general of the National Police, Léon Charles, who had been in charge of the body since November 2020 and had to deal with one of the biggest waves of violence in recent years.
The outskirts of the capital have been hit hard by the action of gangs, whose clashes forced 19,000 people to leave their homes last June fleeing the violence.
Empty streets and warehouses
The vacuum they left seems to have now spread to the rest of the capital and the country, although the main reason is the shortage and cost of fuel, which keeps people in their homes and reduces commercial activity, leaving the markets with almost no public. most populous of Prince Port.
Those who can afford to travel by car find modest barricades burning in various parts of the city, such as Delmas 40, where the drivers dodged the two burning tires and the cement blocks placed on the road, another way of protesting the lack of energy and the crime that strangles the country.
Since the beginning of the year, there have been 747 kidnappings in the country, including 29 foreigners of three nationalities, according to him Center for Analysis and Research of Human Rights (Cardh), which warns of an “exponential” increase in kidnappings in the last two months.
The staff that the Haitian Police, near 15,000 agents, are insufficient to guarantee security in the country, according to a recent report by the HIM-HER-IT that Haiti should have a minimum number of 25,000 agents.
The police force will have to face a new national mobilization against fuel shortages and insecurity in the country, protests in which barricades, looting, burning of tires, fires and shootings are common in several neighborhoods of Prince Port.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.