On Wednesday, Haitian customs workers began an indefinite strike to demand the release of Roosevelt Rejouis, the deputy director of the General Customs Administration (AGD).
Earlier this week, he was detained by armed men in the Catalpa area. So far, it is unknown if the kidnappers have established contact with the relatives of the victim to demand a ransom.
This kidnapping occurred at a time when Roosevelt Rejouis was expected to take over the AGD management after the Anti-Corruption Unit (ULCC) put former manager Romel Bell under investigation for crimes including arms and ammunition trafficking.
Besides recalling that five colleagues were also kidnapped on previous occasions, customs workers rejected that their actions be interpreted as politically motivated acts, since what mobilizes them to undertake their indefinite strike is solidarity with the official and his family.
Meanwhile, it became known that shelters for homeless children have been left virtually empty as the gangs battling for control of swathes of Haiti's capital are filling their ranks with youngsters.
Mass kidnappings continued last week in Port-de-Paix, Nord-Ouest department in #Haiti. Violence in the department has become increasingly volatile, making it an area of ‘growing risk’ according to our Volatility & Risk Predictability Index.https://t.co/fPF0YhLhvI— Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (@ACLEDINFO) May 27, 2022
"Armed groups come at night to recruit us," a boy said at the Champs de Mars, the vast public park in the heart of Port-au-Prince, where street kids congregate.
"There are around 48 people here. They spend the day somewhere else and come here every night to sleep," an adult said, mentioning Ti Lapli, Bougoy, and 100 Jours as gangs that have taken to looking for new recruits in the Champ de Mars.
Earlier this month, the United Nations warned about the use of child soldiers in the multisided gang war that erupted in the capital on April 24. It also cited numerous accounts of kids' being killed by gangs on suspicion of acting as informants for their enemies.
Between April 24 and May 16, according to UN estimates, at least 92 civilians and 96 gang members have died in Port-au-Prince as a result of organized attacks, though the actual death toll could be much higher.