A Turkish official has told the Associated Press that eight Turkish citizens were kidnapped this week in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, becoming the latest in a series of high-profile kidnappings by gangs.
Hugues Josue, Turkey’s honorary consul in Haiti, said the Turkish group of five men and three women had boarded a bus in the neighboring Dominican Republic and were kidnapped on May 8 in the Croix-des-Bouquets neighborhood of Port-au-Prince.
Josue added that he did not have any details on a potential ransom request.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters that the government was following the issue closely, and a crisis desk had been set up in Haiti.
“They are thought to have been kidnapped for ransom. There is no news concerning the state of their health at the moment,” he added.
Croix-des-Bouquets is controlled by the 400 Mawozo gang that kidnapped 17 members of a U.S.-based missionary group in the same area in October, demanding $1 million in ransom.
Earlier this month, a diplomat from the Dominican Republic was also kidnapped in the same neighborhood, but was later released.
Haiti’s National Police announced that one of the top leaders of the 400 Mawozo gang, Germine Joly, has been extradited to the U.S. to faces charges of kidnapping, smuggling and importing weapons of war.
In recent weeks, gang violence has displaced thousands of families and forced dozens of schools and businesses to close.
Meanwhile, the United Nations has announced that at least 75 people have been killed in the most recent gang clashes in Haiti, including women and children, and more than 65 injured.
(GSR photo / Chris Herlinger)