PORT-AU-PRINCE — Security concerns continue in the metropolitan region as gang members hijacked two buses and stole the passengers’ belongings May 10, according to the president of a driver’s union.
Gang members also attempted to hijack a third bus but the driver managed to drive away.
“He got lucky through a hail of bullets,” Mehu Changeux, president of the Association of Owners and Drivers of Haiti (ACPH), told The Haitian Times. “Luckily no one died or got hurt.”
The two buses that were stolen belong to Dieu Soit Loué, or Let God be Praised, and Fidélité or, Loyalty, while the one that fled is a bus that plies the Santo Domingo to Port-au-Prince route.
The previous day, 17 people were kidnapped from a bus, eight Turkish missionaries, eight Haitians and a Dominican driver in Papaye, an area near Croix-des-Bouquets, police chief Frantz Elbe said in a press conference on May 9.
“We know about this bus taken hostage,” Elbe said. “The police is working on it, given the sensitivity of the case, we will not go into details.”
The bus was intercepted while it was on its way to Port-au-Prince from the Dominican Republic. It belongs to Metro Servicios Turísticos, or Metro Tourist Services. The 400 Mawozo gang, a crew operating in Croix-des-Bouquets, has been accused of the kidnapping.
Honorary Consul of Turkey in Port-au-Prince Hughes Josue told Dominican outlet El Dia that the hostage did have time to make phone calls, but has yet to ask for a ransom.
“The bus registered for departure in Dominican territory at Jimani around 4:00 p.m. Sunday with the 17 people kidnapped on board,” Hughes said. “The bus was hijacked shortly after crossing the Jimani border.”
The Turks kidnapped are five men and women, aged between 20 and 26, who work for humanitarians in education.
They were identified as Efil Onur, Kont Semiih, Kilic Sewa, Dorgan Beyer, Ayden Bedia, Kormaz Ibrahim, Candan Mesut and Torun Ramazan. The Haitian passengers are Presan Christopher, Murat Pierre Andre, Nelson Ketia, Jeune Abraham, Luis Mendes, Juin Bleck Leandro, Pierre Mackeny and Yveca Juvensta Sylvestre. And the Dominican bus driver was identified as Martín Castro, according to El Dia.
For the past two weeks gang members in Croix-des-Bouquets have been fighting for more territories and the kidnapping crisis has exacerbated. The 400 Mawozo gang kidnapped Dominican diplomat Carlitin Guilen Tatis for four days and asked for a $500,000 ransom. Authorities of both countries have not communicated anything regarding the ransom.