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The six nuns abducted in Haiti were freed January 24, the Port-au-Prince Archdiocese has confirmed. Their release came as the local Church was marking a Day of Prayer specifically for this intention.
The Sisters of Saint Anne and their two companions were held captive for five days after being kidnapped by unidentified gunmen on Friday, January 19, while traveling in Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital.
The Holy Father appealed for their release on Sunday.
Port-au-Prince Archdiocese said in a statement sent to Aid to the Church in Need (ACN):
With the community of the Sisters of Saint Anne and the Haitian Conference of Religious, the Archdiocese of Port-au-Prince gives thanks to the Lord for the release of the six Sisters and the other people kidnapped with them on January 19. This traumatic event once again tested our faith, but it remains unshakeable.
The statement expressed faith that God “will convert hardened hearts and free Haiti from all evil so that all its children will know the joy of freedom, which is priceless.”
The Church “remains committed to helping bring about an era of justice and peace in Haiti,” it added.
Scourge of kidnapping
After the news of the abduction, the Port-au-Prince Archdiocese and the Haitian Conference of Religious condemned the “heinous” act in a joint statement and called on the perpetrators “in the name of God” to release the captives.
They also appealed to Haiti’s political leaders to “take the necessary measures to eradicate the scourges of kidnapping and violence by armed groups which are plunging the country into an increasingly confused and chaotic situation.”
According to the Associated Press,
Gangs have been blamed for the kidnappings of nearly 2,500 people last year, a more than 80% increase compared with the previous year, according to U.N. statistics. Police remain overwhelmed and underfunded, with less than 10,000 active officers at a time in a country of more than 11 million people.
Killings and abductions of Church personnel have occurred in the country before. A religious Sister was shot dead in 2022, and five priests were kidnapped in 2022 and two in 2023; they were later released.