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Turkish Missionaries Kidnapped in Haiti

At least eight Turkish missionaries were kidnapped in Haiti after travelling by bus from the Dominican Republic on Sunday.

Other people on board the bus who were kidnapped included Haitian passengers and the Dominican bus driver, who were abducted near the same area where a group of missionaries from the United States and Canada was kidnapped in 2021, according to Reuters.

The abduction occurred on Sunday afternoon near Croix-des-Bouquets, where a group of US and Canadian missionaries was kidnapped last year, according to online news site Haiti24. Croix-des-Bouquets is controlled by the 400 Mawozo gang.

Turkish state broadcaster TRT Haber quoted diplomatic sources as saying there were eight Turkish citizens aboard the bus and that they had been abducted for ransom by armed groups.

Turkey’s embassy in Santo Domingo, which is also accredited with Haiti, had made contact with the authorities of both countries and efforts were under way to secure the release of its nationals, TRT cited the sources as saying.

A spokesman for the Haitian National Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A Dominican diplomat was released last week after being kidnapped while on his way toward the Dominican border.

Gang violence has forced dozens of schools and businesses to close in recent weeks and displaced thousands of families, with many of them seeking temporary shelter in schools and shelters as aid groups note an urgent need for food and items including blankets and mattresses.

The United Nations announced Friday that at least 75 people had been killed in the most recent gang clashes, including women and children, and more than 65 injured. It also noted gang rapes of children as young as 10, adding that the violence has greatly limited travel from the capital to Haiti’s northern and southern regions.

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