Kidnapped US nurse and child freed in Haiti: aid group
August 9, 2023 08:33 PM
An American nurse and her child who were kidnapped in Haiti nearly two weeks ago have been freed, her employer said Wednesday.
"It is with a heart of gratitude and immense joy that we at El Roi Haiti confirm the safe release of our staff member and friend, Alix Dorsainvil and her child who were held hostage in Port au Prince, Haiti," the Christian aid group said in a statement.
"We are so thankful for everyone who joined us in prayer and supported us during this crisis."
Dorsainvil and her child were kidnapped near Haiti's capital Port-au-Prince on July 27, just days after the US government ordered its nonessential personnel out of the impoverished Caribbean country due to spiraling insecurity.
She is the wife of the group's director, who is Haitian, and the mother and child were taken from the El Roi campus "while serving in our community ministry," the group said when it first announced her abduction.
It described her at the time as a "deeply compassionate and loving person who considers Haiti her home and the Haitian people her friends and family."
The group did not provide details on the release or who was involved in securing the freedom of Dorsainvil and her child, and urged people not to try to contact the family.
"We will continue to release information as appropriate on our website," El Roi said.
The United States welcomed reports of the release.
"We have no greater priority than the safety and security of US citizens overseas," a State Department spokesperson said in a statement.
"We express our deepest appreciation to our Haitian, and US interagency partners for their assistance in facilitating their safe release," the US official added, acknowledging the victims "have been through a very difficult ordeal, both physically and mentally."
The kidnapping came after the State Department issued an updated travel advisory saying Americans in Haiti should depart "as soon as possible ... in light of the current security situation and infrastructure challenges."
Washington has also ordered its nonessential personnel and family of government employees to leave Haiti, the Western Hemisphere's poorest nation, which has seen compounding humanitarian, political and security crises.
Gangs control most of the capital and terrorize the population with kidnappings, rape and murder.
This week UNICEF warned of an "alarming spike in kidnappings" in Haiti, saying some 300 women and minors were abducted by criminal gangs in the first half of 2023.
That six-month number is close to the total registered for the entirety of last year and is triple the 2021 tally, the United Nations children's agency said in a report, adding that many women and children in Haiti face "unthinkable terror" at the hands of the pervasive gangs.