Kidnappers have released three of the religious people they abducted nearly two weeks ago, a spokesman for the Conference of Bishops of Haiti has said.
Father Loudger Mazile, said that Sister Anne-Marie Dortellus, Father Hugues Baptiste and Lovely Joseph were released but that the two French nationals, Father Michel Briand, 67, and 80-year-old Sister Agnès Bordeau as well as two four Haitian nationals, including two priests are still being held hostage.
It is not known if a ransom was paid for the release of the three hostages. The kidnappers had initially demanded a one million US dollar ransom to release all of the hostages.
“This is too much. The time has come for these inhuman acts to stop,” Monsignor Pierre-André Dumas, Bishop of Miragoâne said following the abduction, adding “the Church prays and stands in solidarity with all the victims of this odious act”.
Earlier, the Episcopal Conference of Haiti (CEH) and the Haitian Conference of Religious (CHR) said Friday they will continue the closure of all its schools, presbyters and other facilities until all those abducted have been released.
In a brief statement, the CEH and the CHR confirmed that all of its facilities, including schools, presbyters, congregants, universities and other institutions, except hospitals and health centers, had been closed from Wednesday for three days “to demand the release of the five priests and two nuns kidnapped”.
Reports said that members of the criminal gang “400 mawozo” abducted the seven including two nuns, while they were going to the installation ceremony of a priest at the immaculate church of Galette Chambon (Ganthier) on April 11.
“On behalf of the Government of the Republic, the Ministry of Worship vehemently condemns the kidnapping followed by the sequestration, on Sunday, April 11, 2021, of seven religious from the Religious Community of Saint Jacques, accompanied by members of their families.
“The Government, which deplores this new unspeakable action of deviant elements of society, has been actively working on the file since yesterday,” the Ministry of Worship said in the statement.