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Archbishop of Port-au-Prince Max Leroy Mésidor. / Salesian priests of Haiti

Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Apr 30, 2021 / 16:29 pm (CNA).

The Society of Priest of St. Jacques announced this Friday, April 30th, that the remaining seven of the 10 Catholic leaders kidnapped in Haiti on April 11 have been released and are in good health.

One of the several criminal groups operating in the country released three of the kidnapped, but kept four Haitian priests and a nun as well as one French priest and one nun on April 11, when they were in the town of Croix-des-Bouquets, on their way to the installation of a new parish priest.

 The criminal gang behind the abduction, calling itself “400 Mazowo,” had demanded a 1 Million dollars ransom. It was not clear if it had been paid in part or in full.

The abduction of the priests and religious sparked massive outrage in Haiti, which is battling a spike in kidnappings for ransom. Following the clergy kidnappings the Catholic Church openly criticized the government’s “inaction,” declaring a week of Mass suspensions and church closings.

The measure forced President Jovenel Moise to announce a reshuffling of the government, including the resignation of the Prime Minister.

In their statement, the Society of Priests of Saint Jacques, a French missionary congregation, said the victims were “unharmed,” and thanked the ambassadors of France and the United States “for their discreet and effective diplomatic contribution”.

Archbishop Max Leroy Mésidor of Port-au-Prince. Haiti’s capital, welcomed the release of the clergy, but noted that “our contentment will be greater when we see that we live in a country where kidnappings do not exist. Our contentment will be greater when we live in a country where everyone can move where they want, when they want in respect for the law.”

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