Haitians Block Streets to Protest Kidnappings

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Burning tire barricade in protest against kidnapping in Port-au-Prince on Apr. 27, 2021.

The Center for Human Rights Research and Analysis has recorded 157 kidnappings in Haiti during the first quarter of the year.

New protests against violence and insecurity in Haiti took place Tue., Apr. 27, 2021 in Port-au-Prince and surrounding regions.

Students at the State University’s Faculty of Medicine set up barricades and burned tires to demand the release of professor Marie Josette Malvoisin, who was kidnapped as she was leaving the institution on Sat., Apr. 24.

Another group of citizens blocked the access roads to the international airport and threatened to block the streets leading to President Jovenel Moise’s headquarters.

In the Petit Goave community, people blocked National Route 2 to denounce the kidnapping of local official Wilkens Dicette on Sun., Apr. 25.

During the past week, local outlets reported at least 13 kidnappings. Among the most recent criminal acts was the disappearance of nursing student Marline Flora Nerestant, whose body was found by police in Tabarre on Mon., Apr. 26.

On Sun. Apr. 11, five priests and two nuns were kidnapped in the town of Croix-des-Bouquets town while they were on their way to a new priest’s installation in the community. The following week, kidnappers released the first victim, who was the mother of Rev. Jean Joseph, after he paid a US$50,000 ransom.

On Thu., Apr. 22, three more victims were released, while three remain in captivity. To protest the kidnapping, the Episcopal Conference called for the closure of churches during the Wed., Apr. 21 work stoppage.

According to the police, the crime was committed by the “400 Mawozo” gang, which operates around Croix des Bouquets.

“Two French nationals are still being held. There are no laypeople among those released,” Father Loudger Mazile said, adding that the Conference is calling for a strike in its institutions to protest Haiti’s insecurity and violence.

“We did not pay the ransom for the clergymen who were released this Wednesday [Apr. 21],” Mazile noted, without revealing the identity of those freed.

The news of the Catholics’ abduction prompted the resignation of Prime Minister Joseph Jouthe, who was in charge of the domestic security affairs.

The 400 Mawozo gang helpded over 400 inmates escape from the Croix des Bouquets prison in February.

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