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Sunday, September 24, 2023

Kidnappings Spiral In Haiti

Port-au-Prince _ Local police and UN peacekeepers freed several hostages over the weekend in Haiti, officials said on Monday, while a human rights panel in Washington pleaded for immediate measures to curb violence in the impoverished nation. On Saturday, Haitian police gave chase and shot dead two people who had just snatched two hostages. A third would-be kidnapper was seriously wounded. The hostages were freed, police said.On Sunday, police freed a young man in his 20s and arrested his kidnappers. Questioning revealed, however, that the hostage had been in cahoots with his kidnappers and had arranged to share the ransom demanded of his parents, police said. Brazilian soldiers from the UN mission in Haiti on Saturday freed a female hostage they found while patrolling the Bel-Air neighbourhood of the Haitian capital, a UN official said.UN peacekeepers, assisted by residents, also broke up a 14-member gang and confiscated their weapons, the official said.In Washington, meanwhile, a human rights panel of the Organisation of American States called for “immediate and decisive” steps to contain Haitian violence and said it was especially worried by a surge in kidnappings. “Rarely have we seen a situation of deterioration like the one under way in this country,” the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights said.The commission, whose members visited Haiti on July 11-15, cited a surge in kidnappings, and condemned the July 10 snatching of Haitian journalist Jacques Roche, who was later tortured and killed.About 700 people have died in violence in the Haitian capital since September, the commission said.AFP

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