by Daniel L. Sonnenberg, Regional Director for Timothy Two Project International in Latin America
I was recently invited to teach two Timothy Two workshops during July in the city of Croix-des-Bouquets which is located a few miles southeast of the nation’s capital, Port-au-Prince. So I investigated the situation all last week speaking several times with the workshop coordinator, the interpreter and the owner of the hotel where I would have stayed.
The short version of our evaluation: there is currently too much violent gang activity and kidnappings for ransom in that city for me to safely travel and hold the workshops at this time.
The gangs are well-armed and are committing multiple murders, shootings and burning cars and businesses. As a result, many residents are being forced out of their homes and are taking refuge in local shelters.
Gangs are raiding police stations to collect guns and are funding much of their activities with kidnappings for ransom of local business owners, doctors, priests, nuns, pastors, ministry leaders, missionaries and religious laypersons.
“People gave 10 gourdes, 15 gourdes, whatever they had,” she told The Associated Press, referring to donations that amounted to 13 to 19 U.S. cents.
The victims of the April 1 kidnapping at the Gospel Kreyol Ministry were relatively fortunate; they were freed nearly three days later. But Jérôme and others remain traumatized and their relatives find themselves in debt, some pushed deeper into poverty, after paying a ransom.
The abductors — like most — were not caught.
Kidnapping has become so common that radio stations often broadcast pleas for help: “Please do not kill him.” “Please help me raise money for ransom.” “Please help me find the body.”
And police seem overwhelmed. At least four police officers were killed last month during a failed raid on the stronghold of a criminal gang so bold it’s still holding the bodies of the slain officers hostage, helping spawn a revolt within police ranks.By EVENS SANON and DÁNICA COTO Associated Press
April 16, 2021
See a June 26 live video of multiple cars and trucks burned by a gang in front of a church where people were attending a funeral.
Here are some of the recent news reports:
- April 13, 2021. Five priests, two nuns, three laypeople kidnapped in Haiti
- June 6, 2021. Haiti – FLASH : Gang war, hundreds of people flee Martissant
- June 7, 2021. Gangs Raid Police Stations for Weapons in Haiti as Deadly Violence Surges
- June 10, 2021. ‘Unprecedented’ rise in gang violence across Haiti’s capital displaces thousands
- June 15, 2021. Report: Gang violence displaces thousands in Haiti’s capital
- June 15, 2021. UN Calls on Haitian Armed Gangs To Halt Violence
- June 24, 2021. Haiti gang leader declares ‘revolution’ as violence spreads
- June 25, 2021. Deadly surge in gang violence in Haiti’s capital displaces nearly twice as many people in June  than in all of 2020
- June 29, 2021. Surge in violence rattles Haiti as poverty, fear deepens
So we will continue to monitor the situation to determine when it might be safe to go and teach the workshops. My hope and prayer is that the violence will soon be quelled so that he and the participants of his workshop will not have to wait much longer for the theological training they desperately need. Please keep this situation in your prayers.