Monday, November 7, 2005
By BosNewsLife News Center
PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI (BosNewsLife)– Children of a United States missionary couple were spending their first Sunday worship service in freedom, November 6, after a turbulent week in which they were first snatched in a Haiti shanty town and later freed in a massive rescue operation.
The children’s father, David Lloyd, said his son and daughter along with their Haitian foster sister were kidnapped last weekend by a gang dressed in police uniforms. They were rescued by genuine police officers 24 hours later in the Delmas area of Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince, after nerve wrecking hours.
One unidentified caller asked for a payment of $350,000, Lloyd told The Associated Press (AP) news agency. Lloyd, an evangelical minister from Claremore, Oklahoma, runs a charity that cares for 21 Haitian foster children.
Hannah Lloyd, aged three, and her elder brother David, five, had been picked up from school by their mother when they were intercepted by a group of men driving a van. Foster sister Miriam Meinvil was also in the car.
Wielding guns, the men grabbed the children from their car and fled, news reports said Haitian police quickly traced the children’s captors, raiding a residential apartment a day after the children were seized, AP reported.
No-one was harmed during the raid and seven suspected gang members were arrested, police officials said. One of those held was reportedly to be a former police officer.
The attack underscored violence in Haiti, which is enduring a breakdown of law and order, including a wave of kidnappings and violent gun crime.
Despite the troubles, Lloyd said it wants to stay in Haiti with his wife, Alicia, who helps run the charity.
“It’s been a pretty rough year, but we feel this is where God wants us to be, and we will stay with our mission,” said David Lloyd.
Violence linked to poverty and the lack of a strong central government has mushroomed in Haiti since the ouster of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 2004, analyst say. Over 800 people have died in violence during 2005 despite the presence of 7,000 United Nations troops in the country.
Journalists and foreigners have reportedly become targets, with a rash of killings and kidnappings turning much of the capital into a no-go area. Democratic elections are scheduled for December, but there are fears that flawed polls could prompt fresh violence, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) said. (With BosNewsLife Research and reports from Haiti).
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