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Release of six nuns in Port-au-Prince: A look back at a kidnapping that shook Haiti

A long-awaited release

The six sisters of the Congrégation des Sœurs de Sainte-Anne, kidnapped on 19 January in Port-au-Prince, were released on the evening of Wednesday 24 January. This news, welcomed with relief, marks the end of several days of anguish for the nuns and two other people, the minibus driver and the niece of one of the nuns, who were also kidnapped. In an official statement, the Archdiocese of Port-au-Prince expressed its gratitude for their release.

Circumstances of the kidnapping

On their way to a local university, the minibus in which they were travelling was stormed by a group of armed men. Once on board, they took all the passengers and the driver hostage.

Call for international solidarity

Faced with this worrying situation, Pope Francis himself expressed his concern and called for the release of the hostages during the Angelus on Sunday 21 January. He also called for social harmony in Haiti and an end to the violence.

Escalating gang violence in Haiti worries the United Nations

This release comes against a backdrop of growing concern about security in Haiti. Denouncing the escalation of violence in the country, a UN Security Council resolution adopted in October called for the deployment of an intervention force made up of thousands of Kenyan police officers to deal with the 300 or so criminal gangs vying for control of the country.

A setback for the UN with the decision of the Nairobi High Court

However, a major obstacle has arisen. The Nairobi High Court ruled that the deployment of Kenyan police officers in Haiti was unconstitutional, calling into question the implementation of this UN Security Council resolution.

Persistent challenges in Haiti

The kidnapping of the nuns is just one in a series of incidents testifying to the persistent challenges facing Haiti. The rise in kidnappings for extortion purposes and the control exercised by armed gangs over large parts of the country have created a climate of widespread insecurity.

Towards a concerted international response

The release of the nuns in Port-au-Prince has brought relief to many, but it does not solve the security challenges facing Haiti. In this period of uncertainty, a concerted international response is more necessary than ever to guarantee security and stability in the region.



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