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Haiti: priests who saw the ex-hostages testify – A Breton missionary kidnapped in Haiti

The six hostages who were still held by a gang and who had been kidnapped on Sunday April 11, near Port-au-Prince, have been released in recent hours.

Among them was Father Michel Briand, from Messac (35). “I got it on the phone. We exchanged quite briefly, ”explained one of the missionary priests of Saint-Jacques who is near Port-au-Prince. “He said he was fine but felt very tired. When I called him, he was in a hospital getting ready to be examined by a doctor. Here it is a great relief. These three weeks of waiting were very trying and distressing for us, but especially for them ”.

“The conditions of detention were very harsh”

At around 3 p.m. French time, we made contact with one of the priests who took the ex-hostages to the hospital. “I found them to be very weak and very thin. At first glance, they weren’t well fed. They were detained in several places. They spent seven days under trees, then in a small house. The conditions of detention were very harsh. But they assured that they had not been physically abused ”.

In Guiclan, near Landivisiau (29), at the headquarters of the congregation, the fathers learned the news this Friday, around 5 a.m. “We had to wait a few hours to verify that everyone had been released,” comments Father Georgino Rameau, secretary general of the Missionary Society of Priests of Saint-Jacques. “They were taken care of by teams on site. After the medical examinations, they will be offered psychological follow-up ”.

“France has played its part”

When asked, “Has a ransom been paid?” “, Father Rameau underlines that” freedom cannot be bought. We worked on this release in conjunction with several structures and organizations that I would like to thank warmly. France also played its part in this liberation. Haiti being an independent country, it could not intervene just any way ”. The French Embassy, ​​the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the interministerial negotiation unit worked on this affair.

On April 11, a gang called the 400 Mawozo kidnapped around ten people, including seven Catholic religious: five Haitians and two French, Father Briand and Sister Agnès Bordeau, from Mayenne. These people were going to the installation of a priest. Within hours of the kidnapping, the gang demanded a million dollar ransom. On April 17, a hostage, the mother of a very old priest, was released on payment of € 50,000. On April 22, three other hostages were released.

“The problem of kidnappings and banditry is far from being resolved in Haiti,” concludes Secretary General of Saint-Jacques. Some say it is to sow political chaos. ” It’s possible. In any case, this phenomenon affects everyone, even the most modest and it is unacceptable ”.

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