By James Blears
Twelve days have passed since five priests, two nuns, and three of their relatives were kidnapped in the Haitian town of Croix Les Bouquets, north east of the capital, Port Au Prince.
They were on their way to attend the installation of a parish priest on 11 April.
One woman who was ill was released, but it’s taken until now for three Haitian members of the clergy to be freed.
A nun and a priest, both French citizens, are among six people still being held.
These kidnappings are being blamed on the “400 Mawozo” gang.
There is a ransom demand for a million US dollars, plus reparations from the French government, which was the colonial power in Haiti until independence in 1803.
The kidnappers are insisting these demands must be met, and are threatening to starve those they are still holding.
Church activities suspended
Friday marks the third day that the Church has suspended all the activities of its institutions throughout Haiti.
Masses are being held for those still captive, and church bells are tolled to focus attention on their plight.
Haiti’s President Jovenal Moise is vowing to continue efforts until all are released safe and well.
The United Nations says kidnapping in Haiti have risen by 200 percent in the last year.
Haiti, which is the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, is rapidly descending into lawlessness, so much so that its streets are no longer safe, day or night.