By NAN Staff Writer
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Mon. Oct. 17, 2021: The interim Prime Minister of Haiti, Ariel Henry, was on Sunday afternoon scared off by gangs as he tried to lay a wreath at a monument erected in honor of Jean Jacques Dessalines, the founding Father of the Nation.
Jimmy Chérizier, Haiti’s gang leader of G9 coalition, was the only person who laid a wreath after Henry and his party were unable to approach Pont-Rouge, Le Nouvelliste reported.
For his part, the head of government ended up laying a floral offering at the Altar of the Fatherland in the rue du Champ de Mars.
Chérizier was accompanied by heavily armed individuals dressed in white, most of whom were hooded. Those men also wore white t-shirts with a photo of the late President Jovenel Moïse. “Jistis pou Jovenel” the jerseys proclaimed.
Since 2018, no authority has been able to go to Pont-Rouge to commemorate the assassination of the founding Father of the Nation. This district of Port-au-Prince is controlled by armed gangs.
The latest move by Chérizier comes as a U.S. Christian aid organization on Sunday said a group of its missionaries had been kidnapped in Haiti.
The group was in Haiti to visit an orphanage when their bus was hijacked on Saturday outside the capital Port-au-Prince, according to accounts by other missionaries, amid a spike in kidnappings following the murder of President Moise.
Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries said it had no information on who was behind the abduction nor where they took the group, which includes 16 Americans and one Canadian.
The U.S. State Department said it was aware of the reports and the Canadian government said it was working with local authorities and groups to gather more information.
(Reuters contributed to this story.)