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Anarchy in Haiti: Believers and church leaders kidnapped in gang-led chaos

by Will Hobbs
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A Christian Agency has urged believers to pray for "restored order" in Haiti, amidst anarchy across the country at the hands of armed gangs.

Haiti entered a state of emergency on March 3 as clashes damaged communications and led to two prison breaks after gang alliance leader Jimmy Cherizier, alias "Barbeque," called for criminal groups to unite and overthrow Haiti's Prime Minister Ariel Henry.

Organised crime groups raided prisons, leading to the escape of 3,700 convicts.

The United Nations estimates hundreds of thousands have been displaced and thousands killed in the overall conflict in Haiti, with widespread reports of rape, torture and ransom kidnappings.

Aid to the Church in Need's Amy Balog told Premier of the desperation faced by Christians on the ground.

"There have been a lot of abductions of church personnel, priests religious in the last few months. And sometimes these people are kidnapped and then released a few days later, but a number of religious kidnapped last month are still in captivity, they were kidnapped by an armed gang, but no one knows where they are being kept. And the motivation for these abductions is not clear either.

"There is this general sense of insecurity, people are just not feeling safe, roads are blocked, it's impossible to get in and out of the Capitol. So it's complete chaos."

Prime Minister Henry is currently unable to get into Haiti, due to sustained attack on the international airport, which remains closed to all flights.

He tried to fly back to Haiti from the United States last week, but his plane was refused permission to land. He was then turned away from the neighbouring Dominican Republic too. He's currently stuck in Puerto Rico.

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