Catholic priests and nuns kidnapped in Haiti

Catholics kidnapped Haiti

Kidnappers are demanding $1 million for the release of ten Catholics in Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti.

Five priests and two religious sisters are among the group who were heading to the installation ceremony of a new parish priest when they were kidnapped.

Michel Briand, one of the victims, is a member of the Society of Priests of Saint-Jacques (SPSJ). He is a French missionary priest who has been serving on the Caribbean island since 1986. Briand was wounded in gun attack in 2015.

“We are devastated by this appalling situation that we share with the entire Haitian population,” said the Reverend Georgino Rameau, the SPSJ secretary general.

Three lay people and one of the nuns who were kidnapped are members of the family of the newly installed parish priest.

The other nun is Sister Agnès Bordeau, a sister of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Providence de la Pommeraye in France.

Her community said the French woman had been in Haiti since late 2018. Previously she had spent a quarter of a century in Honduras.

Sister Agnès had told a local Christian radio station in 2019 that she was “shocked” by the situation in Haiti. “It is a country that suffers from poverty and misery, and where the people are left to fend for themselves.”

She said she had already experienced violence in Central America when burglars entered her house in Honduras and held a gun to her head for about fifteen minutes.

Kidnappings for ransom have surged in recent months in Port-au-Prince and other provinces. This reflects the growing influence of armed gangs in the Caribbean nation, which has been rocked by recent political unrest.

Amaury Perrachon, a Frenchman who was a volunteer in Haiti during 2018 and 2019, emphasized that “violence is omnipresent there and kidnappings are daily”.

He said Croix-des-Bouquets, the suburb where the kidnapping took place, is one of the “hottest” places in the country.

The Reverend Paul Dossous, superior general of the Society of the Priests of Saint-Jacques, said this was not the first time that Church people had been kidnapped.

“They can be released fairly quickly, or it can take a few days,” he explained.

A Catholic religious sister was kidnapped in January and released after just 48 hours.

And in early April, a group of Protestant Church workers, including a pastor, fell victim to kidnappers. They, too, were held for no more than a few days.

The culprits of last Sunday’s kidnapping have demanded $1 million as a condition for the group’s freedom. This indicates that the abduction was probably just financially motivated.

People familiar with kidnapping cases in Haiti said the amount seems excessive, but is mostly symbolic and can be negotiated.

Church officials in Rome are following the situation closely. Holy See diplomatic protocol prefers discretion in such matters, convinced that a public statement would complicate any negotiations.

In cases of kidnapping, the Vatican acts discreetly and uses “all means at our disposal” as one source put it.


La Croix International


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