Haitians protesting against the widespread kidnappings in November 2021. This man's sign reads: "Down with kidnappings. Free the people" Photo credit: Reuters

CROIX-DES-BOUQUETS — Officials of a local university are protesting after kidnappers took a nursing student, Débora Zilus, from her home last week, local daily Le Nouvelliste reported.

Zilus, 22, a student at INUKA University, was kidnapped some time in the night of Mar. 14 and early Mar. 15. from her residence as her parents watched helplessly.

The university’s council of deans and Zilus’ parents called on the authorities to do everything possible to ensure the student’s release.

Kidnapping-for-ransom schemes continue to be a fixture in daily Haitian life after they began increasing nearly two years ago. Street gangs including 400 Mawazo and G9 Family and Allies have been suspected of kidnapping as a way to draw cash. Many of the criminals are associated with towns around the capital, including Croix-des-Bouquets, Tabarre, Martissant, Bel-Air, Delmas, Pernier and Pétion-Ville.

Victims have died during these kidnappings or kidnapping attempts, according to eyewitnesses and relatives. 

Over the Mar. 4 weekend, Le Nouvelliste reported, another kidnapping spree resulted in about 30 people being taken.

On Mar. 17, radio Kiskeya reported the release of Ernst Lafleur, director of the Jacques Roumain College, and his wife after three days of demonstrations led by his students and residents. Information about any ransom paid was not available.

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