kings of the seven Catholic clerics kidnapped in Haiti ten days ago have been released, said Thursday, April 22, to Agence France-Presse the spokesperson for the Conference of Bishops of this Caribbean country plagued by strong insecurity. “Three of the seven religious kidnapped on April 11 have been released. The French are not released. There are no secular people among those released, ”Father Loudeger Mazile told Agence France-Presse.
In all, ten people, including seven religious – five Haitians and two French – were kidnapped on April 11 in 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. The kidnappers demanded a million dollars in ransom.
Haiti in the grip of a deep political crisis
Police suspect an armed gang active in the area, dubbed “400 Mawozo”, of having been behind the 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 . Masses were celebrated and bells rang on April 15 throughout the territory in Catholic churches at exactly noon, in protest and to demand the release of the hostages. “For some time now, we have seen the descent into hell of Haitian society,” said, the day after the tragedy, Mr.gr Max Leroy Mésidor, archbishop of the first Haitian city. “The public authorities, which are doing nothing to resolve this crisis, are not immune to all suspicion. We denounce complacency and complicity wherever they come from, ”he added in a press release.
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. Jovenel Moïse, the object of a strong wave of protest from the political opposition and a good part of the Haitian population, who demand his departure, is in his sixth prime minister appointed in four years of governance. 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).