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38 hostages kidnapped by Haiti gang freed

International Desk

Nearly 40 people taken hostage in a mass kidnapping in Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince were freed on Saturday, one day after they were abducted by a gang, a transporters’ union announced.

“The passengers who had been kidnapped were released… on 11 June,” the Haitian Owners and Drivers Association (APCH) said on Twitter, adding that the two minibuses they had been travelling in were also recovered.

The association did not say whether a ransom was demanded and paid to the kidnappers. The 36 passengers and two drivers were taken hostage on Friday morning by gang members from Village de Dieu, one of the capital’s slums.

The mass kidnapping came as Haiti finds itself in the grip of armed gangs, whom police have failed to confront.

Since June 1, 2021, Haitian authorities have lost control of the only road connecting Port-au-Prince to the southern half of the country, with a section of some 1.5 miles (two kilometers) under the sway of armed gangs.

Last weekend, three young Turkish women were released after a month in captivity. They had been kidnapped by the criminal gang that controls the entire region east of Port-au-Prince, up to the border with the Dominican Republic.

This gang, which hijacked the bus in which they were traveling from Santo Domingo, still holds five other Turkish nationals.

In the month of May alone, at least 200 kidnappings were recorded by the UN, overwhelmingly in Port-au-Prince.

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