Three kidnapped Catholic priests released in Haiti

Believers gather outside the church in Port-au-Prince to pray for the release of the priests.Photo: April 12, 2021

People gathered in front of the Church of St. Rock to pray for the release of the kidnapped people.

Three members of the Catholic clergy kidnapped in Haiti earlier this month were released, officials said.

However, seven others, including a French nun and a French priest, remain kidnapped in the town of Croix-des-Bouquets.

The kidnapper demanded a ransom of $ 1 million (£ 722,000) after seizing the group on April 11.

Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise has vowed to “do everything legally permitted” to ensure his release.

“Three of the seven clergy who were kidnapped on April 11 were released,” Father Lodger Mazile, a spokesman for the Episcopal Conference of the island nation, told AFP Thursday.

“The French were not released. There were no ordinary people among those released,” he said.

It is unknown if the ransom was paid.

The attack took place on the way to the establishment of a new parish priest by a Catholic priest.

Police sources told AFP that a gang named 400 Mazowo was likely behind the kidnapping.

Kidnappings are on the rise in Haiti, and the Catholic Church describes the situation as a “descent to hell.”

Initially the main target was wealthy businessmen, but the victims came from all disciplines. Religious groups are not exempt.

On April 1, armed men rushed into service at an evangelical church on the outskirts of the capital, Port-au-Prince, and kidnapped a minister and three others. The service was livestreamed on social media at the time.

The four were released three days after the private amount was paid as a ransom, but the courage to kidnap the minister during worship shocked many Haitians.