U.S. Nurse and Her Child Are Kidnapped in Haiti

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An American nurse and her daughter have been kidnapped in Haiti, as the capital, Port-au-Prince, experiences a resurgence of violence. The woman, identified as Alix Dorsainvil, was taken from the campus of El Roi Haiti, a faith-focused humanitarian organization, on Thursday. The U.S. State Department confirmed that they were aware of the incident and were working with Haitian officials. Kidnappings have become a regular occurrence in Port-au-Prince, with gangs controlling many parts of the city. However, there had been a decline in abductions recently due to a vigilante campaign known as “bwa kale,” where civilians armed themselves to fight back against the gangs.

The vigilante campaign led to a decrease in gang violence, as residents took matters into their own hands. However, in recent weeks, there has been a spike in kidnappings and killings of civilians. Between May and mid-July, at least 40 people were abducted and 75 murdered. This increase in violence may signal the end of the brief period of respite that the city had experienced. The Kraze Baryè gang, responsible for several high-profile kidnappings, including that of a famous radio host and her husband, has caused heightened tensions. Last week, dozens of Haitians sought refuge in front of the U.S. embassy in Port-au-Prince in an attempt to escape the violence caused by the gang.

The authorities’ response to the escalating violence has been criticized, with claims that they are abandoning the population. The National Human Rights Defense Network called out high-ranking officers at the Haitian police for protecting the gangs. The weakening of the “bwa kale” movement and the gangs’ need to make up for lost income from the decline in kidnappings have been cited as reasons for the recent increase in violence. The State Department has ordered nonemergency embassy personnel and their families to evacuate and advised all U.S. citizens in Haiti to leave as soon as possible.

This is not the first high-profile kidnapping case in Haiti. In 2021, 17 missionaries, mostly Americans, and their family members were abducted as they were leaving an orphanage in Port-au-Prince. Although some hostages were released, the rest managed to escape months later. The situation in Haiti remains precarious, with the gangs operating with impunity and no one feeling safe, whether they are foreigners or Haitians.

As the violence continues to escalate, it is crucial for both Haitian and international authorities to take swift action to protect the population and bring an end to these abductions. The safety and well-being of innocent individuals, like Alix Dorsainvil and her daughter, must be a top priority.

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