Kidnapped American nurse and daughter released in Haiti

Ms Dorsainvil and her daughter were reportedly being held in Port au Prince

Graig Graziosi
Wednesday 09 August 2023 18:09 BST
U.S. woman kidnapped in Haiti

An American nurse and her daughter have been released after being kidnapped from a medical mission in Haiti.

Alix Dorsainvil of New Hampshire was working for the nonprofit Christian ministry El Roi Haiti providing healthcare services when she and her young daughter were abducted by kidnappers in late July.

Ms Dorsainvil is married to the founder of El Roi Haiti, Sandro Dorsainvil.

On 9 August a blog entry went live on El Roi Haiti's website announcing that Ms Dorsainvil had been released. It noted that she was being held in the capital, Port au Prince, and that she and her daughter were safe.

"It is with a heart of gratitude and immense joy that we at El Roi Haiti confirm the safe release of our staff member and friend, Alix Dorsainvil and her child who were held hostage in Port au Prince, Haiti," the group said on its blog. "Today we are praising God for answered prayer!"

Ms Dorsainvil was well-loved in her local community; after she was taken, protesters marched on the capital with signs testifying to her work as a nurse and demanding that she be released.

The ministry has asked for privacy for the Dorsainvils in the wake of the kidnapping.

"There is still much to process and to heal from in this situation, so we are asking that no attempts be made to contact Alix or her family at this time," El Roi said in its statement. "We will continue to release information as appropriate on our website. Please keep checking back. And again, thanks for all of the prayers and support through this incredibly difficult time."

Haiti has experienced a surge of gang violence over the last year, and with it a spike in kidnappings.

Many nonprofits — which are some of the few remaining aid organisations operating in regions of the country most afflicted by gang violence — have closed due to the worsening violence.

Alix Dorsainvil, right, an American nurse working in Haiti, has been released after being kidpanned
Alix Dorsainvil, right, an American nurse working in Haiti, has been released after being kidpanned (El Roi Haiti)

Among those is Doctors Without Borders, which announced earlier this month it was suspending its services at one of its hospitals after 20 armed men burst into an operating room and kidnapped a patient.

A woman who was waiting for a checkup at the nonprofit witnessed Ms Dorsainvil’s abduction. She recalled seeing a man enter, pull out a gun, and tell her to relax.

The US State Department issued an advisory warning Americans to avoid traveling to Haiti on the same day the aid worker was abducted. It also ordered nonemergency personnel to leave the country citing the widespread kidnappings.

The protesters who demanded action at the capital carried signs supporting the aid worker, including one that read “she is doing good work in the community, free her.”

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