Religious superior: ‘When will this spate of violence end?’
The head of a Catholic religious order in Haiti has spoken out against the violence sweeping his country a day after one of his priests was released from captivity.
Father Jean-Yves Médidor, of the Clerics of Saint Viator, was freed yesterday (Thursday, 23rd March), nearly two weeks after he was abducted in the outskirts of Croix-des-Bouquets, a suburb of the capital, Port-au-Prince, where he ministered as a priest.
In a message sent to Archbishop Max Leroy Mésidor of Port-au-Prince, which was also sent to Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), Father Dudley Pierre, provincial of the Clerics of Saint Viator, highlighted the “violence” and “anarchy” in Haiti.
Describing how the country was passing through a “dark hour”, in his message Father Pierre asks “When will this spate of violence end?”
Calling the abduction “painful and outrageous”, Father Pierre gave details of how his brother cleric was kidnapped leaving the priests’ residence by a gang of armed and hooded men.
He said: “As he closed the gate, one of our guards saw masked men chase Father Jean-Yves. Later, we realised that there were vehicles waiting by the junction.”
The abduction of Father Médidor came barely a month after Father Antoine Christian Noah was kidnapped and held for 10 days.
The 33-year-old Claretian priest was captured after returning to Haiti from retreat in the Dominican Republic.
Father Noah managed to escape by making a hole in the roof of the house where he was being held. After reaching safety, he moved to another country.
His superior, Father Fausto Cruz Rosa, paid tribute to Father’s Noah’s heroism, saying that he was only fed four times over his 10 days in captivity.
He said: “[Father Noah] was never afraid because he prayed to his patron. He is a man of prayer, very spiritual, very serene. The kidnappers were surprised at how a priest could handle it.”
Both kidnappings come against a backdrop of increasing concern about stability in Haiti where the United Nations estimates that there were more than 1,300 kidnappings last year alone, and more than 2,000 murders.
The security situation has deteriorated especially since the July 2021 murder of President Jovenal Moïse, with deepening poverty and lack of food.