Haitians Decry Kidnappings of American Nurse, Daughter

They were seized last week
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 31, 2023 5:25 PM CDT
In Haiti, Thousands Protest Kidnappings, Gang Violence
A girl carries a sign that reads in Creole "Free school is broken. Release the nurse," during a march Monday in Haiti.   (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Chants of "freedom" echoed Monday through the streets outside an aid facility in Haiti's capital, where just days earlier an American nurse and her daughter were kidnapped by armed men. Hundreds of Haitians marched through the gang-ravaged zone of Port-au-Prince, bursting with anger at the abduction, which has become a symbol of the worsening violence plaguing the Caribbean nation, the AP reports. Alix Dorsainvil of New Hampshire had been working as a community nurse for the religious and humanitarian aid group El Roi Haiti when she and her daughter were taken from its campus on Thursday, the organization said. She is the wife of its founder, Sandro Dorsainvil.

Members of the community said the unidentified kidnappers asked for $1 million in ransom, something that's become standard among the gangs. A State Department spokesman would not say whether the abductors had made any demands. Hundreds of people have been kidnapping in Haiti this year alone, figures from the local nonprofit Center for Analysis and Research in Human Rights show. Since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in 2021, gangs have taken over much of Port-au-Prince, killing, raping, and sowing terror in communities already suffering endemic poverty. The violence has stirred anger among Haitians who say they want to live in peace, per the AP.

Protesters, largely from nearby El Roi Haiti's campus—which includes a medical clinic, a school and more—echoed that call as they walked through the sweltering streets wielding cardboard signs written in Creole in red paint. "She is doing good work in the community, free her," read one. Among the protesters was Jean Ronald, a resident who said the community has significantly benefitted from the care provided by El Roi Haiti. Such groups are often the only institutions in areas far beyond the reach of the law but have increasingly had to close as violence has deepened. The closures often leave thousands of families without basic services like health care or education. "If they leave, everything (the aid group's programs) will shut down," Ronald said. "The money they are asking for, we don't have it."

(More Haiti stories.)

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