Americans, Canadians held hostage in northern Haiti ‘safe’

This article is over 6 months old Haitian security services said the kidnappers included US and Canadian citizens Eighteen US and Canadian missionaries kidnapped by armed men in northern Haiti on Friday are safe,…

Americans, Canadians held hostage in northern Haiti 'safe'

This article is over 6 months old

Haitian security services said the kidnappers included US and Canadian citizens

Eighteen US and Canadian missionaries kidnapped by armed men in northern Haiti on Friday are safe, a leader of the aid group said.

“There is no good news,” Graham Henry, CEO of World Vision Canada, said, adding that there had been reports the men had been murdered.

Haiti is still recovering from the devastating 2010 earthquake and the cholera epidemic.

His wife Shelly Henry said: “We are deeply concerned with the welfare of all the foreign nationals involved. We are working closely with local officials and are awaiting further information.”

Australian national Luis Monge, reported to be the pastor of a local church in the northern Haiti town of Mirebalais, was among those kidnapped by gunmen, the embassy said in Canberra.

Sharon McCloskey (@SharonMcCloskey21) News/Foundation: Melissa Eddy was kidnapped while giving a presentation yesterday at her houseless mission; the houseless community in #Mirebalais is very peaceful & very vibrant. Melissa took this trip with World Vision along with 7 Canadians and 8 other wherabouts are unknown.

Melissa Eddy and eight colleagues from the Portland Oregon-based group were travelling with their vehicles in Haiti in a village near Cap Haitien when they were intercepted by attackers late on Friday.

It is not known whether the gunmen who kidnapped the women were armed with weapons, or simply accompanied them.

“The circumstances of their kidnapping are not entirely clear but it is probably because the women were wearing white. Everyone in that area wears white because they’re trying to out-Christian everyone else,” one local official said.

Henry had been scheduled to visit Haiti on Saturday for World Vision’s work in schools and homes for the vulnerable.

Luis Monge is the pastor of Church Soleil in Mirebalais. The church said it had received a report on social media that several people had been taken hostage in the nearby community of Nahant.

In a statement, Australia’s embassy in the capital, Port-au-Prince, said it was “deeply concerned” about reports that a number of people from an Australian humanitarian organisation were abducted in Haiti.

“We are providing consular assistance to local authorities who are investigating the matter,” the statement said.

World Vision says its humanitarian response teams have worked with the local community to provide emergency food and water to communities affected by the water crisis in Haiti.

“We are aware of nine Canadians working with World Vision and that there were two US citizens in the group that was kidnapped in Haiti,” a US embassy spokeswoman told AFP.

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