Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Haiti kidnappers free British man

A British man kidnapped in Haiti has been released

A Briton kidnapped while doing post-earthquake reconstruction work in Haiti has been freed, the agency employing him said.

The Pan-American Development Foundation said the man had recently arrived in Haiti on a short-term contract. Police are still searching for a Haitian colleague kidnapped with him on Monday.

"We are working to ensure that our employee is safely returned to his family," the group's executive director John Sanbrailo said.

The dual kidnapping happened in the Port-au-Prince suburb of Petionville, United Nations peacekeeping spokesman George Ola-Davies said.

The area is home to both foreigners and upper-class Haitians, as well as impoverished Haitians living in its slums and now camps for survivors of the January earthquake.

A spokesman for the Washington-based development foundation, Michael Zamba, said its policy was to not pay ransoms. Most kidnappings in Haiti are resolved with such a payment. It is not clear how the British man was released.

The identities of both kidnap victims are not being released to protect their safety and privacy, Mr Zamba said.

Kidnappings were once rare in Haiti but soared after the 2004 ousting of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Foreigners have been targeted, but the victims are most often Haitians - including children ransomed for extremely small amounts.

UN peacekeepers and Haitian police had successfully cracked down on the crime with the arrest and killing of many kidnappers, and kidnappings - especially of foreigners - became extremely rare in 2009.

But kidnappings appear to be on the rise again since the earthquake, with newcomers streaming in from overseas while criminals who escaped from Haiti's damaged prison re-establish themselves. Several high-profile kidnapping cases have been reported, including the taking of two Doctors Without Borders workers and a Belgian businessman.

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