Six religious sisters of Sainte-Anne congregation have been abducted along with the other occupants including the driver of the vehicle, as armed gunmen hijacked a bus in Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince.
The men drove off to an unknown destination taking all passengers hostage.
The abductors stopped and boarded the minibus in broad daylight, as it was heading to the university in the centre of Port-au-Prince.
Pope Francis has called for the release of hostages and said he was praying for social harmony in the country.
“I have learned with sorrow of the kidnapping, in Haiti, of a group of people, including six religious sisters. In my heartfelt plea for their release, I pray for social concord in the country and I invite everyone to bring an end to the violence, which is causing a great deal of suffering to that dear population”, Pope Francis said after his weekly Angelus prayer.
The kidnapping, confirmed in a press release from the Haitian Conference of Religious, has also been strongly denounced by Bishop Pierre-André Dumas.
The Bishop of Anse-à-Veau and Miragoâne strongly and firmly condemned “this latest odious and barbaric act that shows no respect for the dignity of these consecrated women who give themselves wholeheartedly and completely to God to educate and form the young, the poorest and the most vulnerable of our society.”
The Bishop called for the release of the hostages and an end to “these deplorable and criminal practices.” Bishop Dumas called on “all of Haitian society to join hands to form a true circle of solidarity around all the country’s hostages, in order to obtain their release and grant them a swift, safe return to their families and communities!”
Finally, he declared his willingness to take their place as a hostage.
Since last Sunday, armed gangs have stepped up their murderous activities, while demonstrations against the lack of security have been organised across the country.
(Agencies; Picture Courtesy: NBC/AFP)