Pope Francis has called for the immediate release of hostages, including six nuns, who were abducted from a bus in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, on Friday.
The pontiff expressed his deep concern during his weekly Angelus prayer after learning of the distressing incident.
According to Vatican News, armed gunmen seized control of the bus and drove away with the passengers, including the nuns, leaving their destination unknown.
The Haitian Conference of Religious group reported the incident on Saturday, highlighting the severity of the situation.
“I have learned with sorrow of the kidnapping, in Haiti, of a group of people, including six religious sisters,” Pope Francis stated, emphasizing his plea for the safe and swift release of the hostages.
Additionally, he extended his prayers for social concord in the country, urging an end to the escalating violence that has inflicted considerable suffering on the Haitian population.
Rising Violence in Haiti
The surge in violence in Haiti over the past months is attributed to power struggles among various gangs seeking influence and aiming to exert pressure on interim Prime Minister Ariel Henry.
The situation intensifies as the country approaches the February 7 expiration of a political accord that consolidated Henry’s authority.
The timing of the kidnapping aligns with mounting tensions, with gangs attempting to leverage the situation to sway political decisions.
Concerns are particularly heightened ahead of the expected court decision on January 26 regarding a Kenyan-led multinational force aimed at addressing gang violence in Haiti.
This initiative is seen as a critical step in alleviating the challenges faced by one of the poorest nations in the Western Hemisphere.
As Pope Francis continues to advocate for peace and unity in the face of these distressing events, the international community remains vigilant, hoping for a swift resolution to the crisis and the safe return of the kidnapped individuals, especially the six nuns who have become unwitting victims of the escalating violence in Haiti.
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