Wed | Jun 29, 2022

Official: Eight Turkish citizens kidnapped from bus in Haiti

Published:Monday | May 9, 2022 | 2:38 PM
Police patrol after recovering the bodies of at least two journalists slain by gangs in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, January 7, 2022. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph, File)

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Eight Turkish citizens have been kidnapped in Haiti's capital, an official told The Associated Press on Monday, apparently the latest in a string of high-profile kidnappings by powerful gangs.

Hugues Josue, Turkey's honorary consul in Haiti, said the group had boarded a bus in the neighbouring Dominican Republic and were kidnapped late Sunday afternoon in the Croix-des-Bouquets neighbourhood of Port-au-Prince.

Those kidnapped were five men and three women, he said.

Josue said he did not have any details on a potential ransom request, and no additional information was immediately available.

Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters that a “crisis desk” had been set up in Haiti and that Turkey was following the issue closely.

“They are thought to have been kidnapped for ransom,” Cavusoglu said.

“There is negative concerning the state of their health at the moment.”

Croix-des-Bouquets is controlled by the 400 Mawozo gang, which kidnapped 17 members of a US-based missionary group in the same area last October. The gang demanded $1 million in ransom and held most of them until December.

A diplomat from the Dominican Republic was kidnapped in the same neighbourhood earlier this month and later freed.

Last week, Haiti's National Police announced that one of the top leaders of the 400 Mawozo gang, Germine Joly, was extradited to the US. He faces charges involving kidnapping, smuggling and import of weapons of war.

The violence and insecurity have prompted Haitians to organise protests in recent weeks to demand safer neighbourhoods.

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