Haiti: 17 US missionaries and families kidnapped in Port-au-Prince

Country plagued by a surge of gang violence that has displaced thousands

A deserted road in downtown in Port-au-Prince. Photo: AFP
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As many as 17 American Christian missionaries and their family members have been kidnapped by gang members in Haiti's capital of Port-au-Prince.

The missionaries were abducted on Saturday from a bus headed to the airport to drop off some members of the group before continuing to another destination in Haiti, the New York Times reported, citing security officials from the crisis-engulfed Caribbean nation.

A surge in gang violence has displaced thousands and hampered economic activity in the poorest country in the Americas. Violence increased after the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in July and an earthquake in August that killed more than 2,000 people.

Mr Moise's assassination is still unsolved and has led to political officials and government factions accusing each other of taking part in a conspiracy to kill Mr Moise.

Days before the kidnapping, the UN Security Council extended its mission in Haiti by nine months in a unanimous vote on Friday.

Haitians have been called for the US to take action to help stabilise the deteriorating situation with some even suggesting that the US send troops. The Biden administration however has `been reluctant to commit to any ground forces.

The US Embassy in Haiti did not respond to a request for comment on the kidnapping incident.

Updated: October 17, 2021, 5:41 AM