Number of RBDF Officers and Weapons Sent to Haiti Increases After Kidnapping of Embassy Local Staff – Eye Witness News

Assault: Embassy, ​​diplomatic staff ‘as safe as possible’

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Security at the Bahamian Embassy in Haiti will be bolstered with the addition of Royal Bahamian Defense Force officers and an increased arsenal after the kidnapping of a local worker last Thursday.

eyewitness news Around 6:00 a.m. on September 1st, the female employee was found to have been kidnapped when she returned home from an ATM.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell

The family of the “long-time employee” is negotiating with the kidnappers to negotiate her release, according to Foreign Secretary Fred Mitchell, who insisted the government was not involved in the matter.

The Embassy has 11 local staff and 6 diplomatic staff. charging Lieutenant Colonel Godfrey Roll.

Roll is tasked with advising the minister on the security situation in Haiti and recommending withdrawals if necessary.

He said eyewitness news He personally believed that closing the embassy was “ridiculous” given the need to interact with Haitian authorities there.

“This is my personal opinion,” he said.

“The fact of the matter is that the Bahamas and Haiti have decades of history, and the Bahamas is the only CARICOM country to have an embassy in Haiti, and for obvious reasons.

“There are a lot of Haitians, or Haitian Bahamians, or whatever you call them, living in the Bahamas. Shutting down and not having any contact with the Haitian government on the ground would be reckless.”

Lieutenant Colonel Godfrey Roll

Mitchell confirmed that the government had not issued orders for their withdrawal, but the diplomats were free to return home if they wished.

“We asked if they wanted to go back, but we haven’t ordered them to leave because we need diplomats in the area,” Mitchell said in an interview on Saturday.

“We’re taking some additional security measures. I think we’ll have additional defense officers coming in. We’ll probably have more weapons too, so these are the steps we’re taking.

Mitchell added:[Rolle] He was asked to speak to us when he decided it would be wise for us to get out of there, but I don’t think so at this time. “

In a release on Saturday, the ministry said the matter had been reported to Haitian police and was being investigated. added.

“Our prayers are with the victims and their families for a safe and speedy return. We will assist the authorities wherever possible,” the statement read.

Students help police unblock a street during a demonstration against kidnappings in Port-au-Prince. (Photo by Odeline Joseph/2021)

Kidnappings and gang violence have surged in recent weeks in Haiti, which reportedly continues to grapple with political and economic instability. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported last month that hundreds had died in clashes with gangs. Cité Soleil in Haiti From July.

Former Foreign Secretary Darren Henfield said in a statement that he expressed concern over the incident and hoped the matter could be resolved satisfactorily.

Yesterday, Rolle explained that gang activity has been a long-standing problem in Haiti. He believes the Haitian National Police are doing better with gangs in the areas where they operate. Said it was in a shopping district.

He noted that there were several locally hired staff who lived in areas with gang activity.

Mr Rolle said both diplomats and local staff have been advised not to come to work if they don’t feel safe, and not to return until it is safe to do so.

“It’s as safe as possible,” he said of the embassy’s operations.

Rolle continues:When I first went as a peacekeeper [former President of Haiti Jean-Bertrand Aristide] Come back and like anywhere else you have to use common sense.

“Some have been placed in New York or Washington where it probably doesn’t make sense to go, and the same goes for Haiti. Number of RBDF Officers and Weapons Sent to Haiti Increases After Kidnapping of Embassy Local Staff – Eye Witness News

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