A U.S. nurse and her daughter were kidnapped from a Christian-run school outside Port-au-Prince and released by their captors on Wednesday, nearly two weeks after they were taken, highlighting the serious security threats for visitors to a capital city mostly controlled by gangs.
On the same day that Alix Dorsainvil and her child were kidnapped, July 27, the U.S. State Department issued an advisory advising American citizens to leave Haiti “as soon as possible” and directing all non-emergency U.S. government officials to leave the country. A U.S. “do not travel” recommendation remains in effect for the country.
El Roi Haiti, a Christian organization created by Dorsainvil’s husband, called for prayers and promised to work toward the couple’s safe release in the days after their kidnapping. Some people lost hope. Since President Jovenel Mose was killed in 2021, gang warfare has become a major problem in Haiti. Members of this gang routinely carry out homicides, rapes, and hostages.
The tweet below verifies the news:
American nurse Alix Dorsainvil and her daughter were freed Wednesday, nearly two weeks after they were kidnapped in Haiti’s capital, according to aid organization El Roi Haiti. https://t.co/6CB4xaOpu3
— WWJ 950 (@WWJ950) August 10, 2023
Some of those detained are there for months. There have been 539 kidnappings in this country of over 11 million people since January, according to a local nonprofit. The mother and daughter from New Hampshire were freed, and El Roi Haiti acknowledged it on Wednesday “with a heart of gratitude and immense joy.”
The U.S. Department of State issued a statement expressing gratitude to its interagency partners in Haiti and the United States for their assistance in arranging the release. Neither party elaborated, thus it’s unclear if a ransom was paid or not. “We have no greater priority than the safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas,” the department said.
“As you can imagine, these individuals have been through a very difficult ordeal, both physically and mentally.” El Roi Haiti, in a brief contact with the Associated Press, said it will talk further in the following days but asked for patience “as the community processes and heals.” The group published a statement requesting no one make contact with Dorsainvil or her loved ones.
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Meanwhile, local Haitians responded to the news by bursting into cheers and hugs at the organization’s campus. “Thank you, God!” Fredline Valcourt said. “She’s our mother in the area. If we have any problems, we don’t need to go anywhere else. She would take care of us.”
Louitesse Desumer claimed that she prayed for their release at church. “We don’t want them to leave the country,” she stated, her hands outstretched in gratitude for the release. In the poorest regions of the country, the Christian organization has provided medical aid, schools, and other essential services.
El Roi Haiti wrote on their blog that Dorsainvil visited Haiti following the tragic 2010 earthquake and fell in love with the people there. Dorsainvil, who was lucky to know Haitians, speaks of their “joy, and life, and love” in a video on the organization’s website. Dorsainvil earned her BSN from a nursing school at Regis College in Weston, Massachusetts.
College president Antoinette Hays expressed relief at the news that Dorsainvil and her daughter had been released from custody. We hope that her loved ones feel the love and support of the community as they begin to recover from this tragedy.
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