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  17 Oct 2021, 10:40
Update : 17 Oct 2021, 13:36

15 US missionaries and family kidnapped in Haiti: security source

  PORT-AU-PRINCE, Oct 17, 2021 (BSS/AFP) - About 15 American missionaries and

family members were kidnapped on Saturday by a gang outside the Haitian
capital, a local security source told AFP.

  The group of between 15 and 17 people, including children, were being held
by an armed gang which for months has been engaged in theft and kidnappings
in the area between Port-au-Prince and the border with the Dominican
Republic, the source said.

  A spokesman for the US government declined to provide any information.

  "The welfare and safety of US citizens abroad is one of the highest
priorities of the Department of State," the official said. "We are aware of
these reports and have nothing additional to offer at this time."

  Armed gangs, which for years have controlled the poorest districts of the
Haitian capital, have extended their hold to other parts of Port-au-Prince
and its surroundings, sowing terror with kidnappings.

  More than 600 kidnappings were recorded in the first three quarters of
2021, compared with 231 over the same period last year, according to the
Center for Analysis and Research in Human Rights, a civil society group based
in the Haitian capital.

  For years, Haiti has been paralyzed by a deep political and economic
crisis, and the July assassination of President Jovenel Moise plunged the
Caribbean country even further turmoil.

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