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Catholic priest in Haiti is murdered


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Zelda Caldwell - published on 09/10/21

The shooting is the latest crime against clergy and religious in a year in which kidnappings and violence have increased dramatically.

A Catholic priest was shot dead in Haiti on Monday, Catholic News Agency reported.

Father André Sylvestre, age 70, was killed in the country’s second largest city, Cap-Haitien, outside of a bank where he had just completed a transaction.

The attack, which took place in the middle of the afternoon, was committed by armed men riding motorcycles. According to a report by the Haiti Standard, the men did not have time to pick up the bag of money that the priest was carrying.

Fr. Sylvestre served at Notre Dame de La Mercie parish.

In recent years, the country has been plagued by crime related to the political unrest and economic hardship facing the country. Over the last few months the number of kidnappings has dramatically increased.

In April, a criminal gang called the “400 Mazowo” kidnapped 10 Catholics, among them, five priests and two religious sisters.  The hostages were later released. It is not known whether a ransom was paid to the kidnappers.

Archbishop Max Leroy Mésidor welcomed the release of the hostages, but noted that “our contentment will be greater when we see that we live in a country where kidnappings do not exist. Our contentment will be greater when we live in a country where everyone can move where they want, when they want in respect for the law.”

Since that time, the country has plunged further into chaos. An earthquake left more than 2,000 dead, and a presidential assassination earlier in the summer further left Haiti’s fragile democracy in peril.

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