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Six religious sisters of the Congregation of the Sisters of Sainte-Anne were abducted, along with other travelers on a minibus, in Haiti on Friday, January 19.
Armed gunmen stopped and boarded the minibus, taking all passengers and the driver captive. The attack happened during the day in the center of the capital, Port-au-Prince.
Pope Francis made an appeal for their release and for peace in the country, after he prayed the midday Angelus on January 21:
I have learned with sorrow the news of the kidnapping, in Haiti, of a group of people, including six Religious: in earnestly calling for their release, I pray for social harmony in the country and I call on everyone to stop the violence, which causes so much suffering to that dear population.
In the chaos of Haiti, gangs control as much as 80% of the capital, Port-au-Prince. They have been blamed for countless abductions, including hundreds last year, according to UN statistics.