US undertaking ‘coordinated effort’ to recover missionaries kidnapped in Haiti, Psaki says

Andrew Feinberg
Monday 18 October 2021 18:53
<p>Jen Psaki says the US is making an effort to rescue kidnapped missionaries </p>

Jen Psaki says the US is making an effort to rescue kidnapped missionaries

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Monday said the USgovernment is undertaking a “coordinated effort” to return a group of American and Canadian missionaries to safety after they were kidnapped over the weekend.

Ms Psaki said President Joe Biden has been briefed on the situation and is “receiving regular updates on what the State Department [and] the FBI are doing to bring these individuals home safely”.

“The FBI is part of a coordinated US government effort to get the US citizens involved to safety. Due to operational considerations, we’re not going to go into too much detail on that, but I can confirm their engagement and that the US Embassy in Puerto Prince is coordinating with local authorities and providing assistance to the families to resolve the situation,” she said.

However, she noted that she could not “get into too many details … about the individuals and their identities” because doing so could violate US privacy laws.

US-based Christian Aid Ministries said over the weekend that the group — including 16 Americans and one Canadian — was kidnapped on their way home from an orphanage outside Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital.

Gang-related kidnappings have become an increasingly common problem in the impoverished Caribbean state, which in recent months has been ravaged by earthquakes and hurricanes as well as the assassination of the country’s president.

According to the UN Integrated Office in Haiti, more than 328 kidnapping victims were reported to Haiti’s National Police over the first eight months of 2021, nearly 100 more than the 234 reported in all of 2020.

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