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Three worshippers kidnapped in Haiti as they left church

by Kelly Valencia

Gang members in Haiti kidnapped three worshippers as they left Sunday Mass last weekend.

According to local media, a couple and one other person were attacked and taken as they left First Baptist Church in the centre of Port-au-Prince on Sunday.

They’re believed to be regular members of the congregation.

They kidnapping comes just five days after a priest from the Claretian Missionaries was also snatched by gang members. The organisation has revealed the gang members are demanding a ransom.

But this is not the first time gang members have targeted members of this congregation. In 2021, the church’s deacon Sylner Lafaille, 60, and his wife Sister Marie Marthe Laurent Lafaille were attacked by heavily armed individuals.

Sylner Lafaille died while trying to oppose the attack, while Sister Marie was taken hostage.

A recent report by the UN last week described the situation in Haiti as “a living nightmare” as there were more than 1,200 kidnappings reported in the country in 2022.

The report also highlighted the sharp rise of gang violence, especially in neighbourhoods located in the outskirts of Port-au-Prince.

UN High Commissioners for Human Rights Volker Türk described the findings as "horrifying".

"It paints a picture of how people are being harassed and terrorised by criminal gangs for months without the state being able to stop it," Mr Türk said.

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