MIAMI (CBSMIAMI) – The turmoil in Haiti continues and now even those who are providing aid are targets.
Over the weekend the danger became more apparent as 16 American missionaries and one Canadian were kidnapped, the group is affiliated with the Ohio-based organization Christian Aid Ministries, they were reportedly helping to build orphanages when abducted.
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One local nonprofit opens up about the danger.
“It’s really extremely dangerous, it’s a real shame, it’s heart feels for the people who were just kidnapped,” said Michael Caponni, the founder of Global Empowerment Mission.
The nonprofit is among those helping to provide aid to Haiti. Caponni said his and other organizations are having to maneuver through major safety concerns.
“There’s an entry roadway into the south coast, it’s an area call Martissant and Carrefour and basically they have completely blockaded that, to the point where it looks like the old west,” said Caponni.
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By “they” he’s referring to gangs and rebel organizations who, he said, have made it very difficult for those trying to help.
“Those guys are extremely armed, they literally have bazookas. They can shoot a police car and make it explode and according to the police chief of the country they’re outgunned and outnumbered,” said Caponni.
“There definitely needs to be some international intervention here. Can you imagine I-95, on your way to an exit on Overtown and it was completely blocked, or you couldn’t take 836 anymore and it was just closed, this kind of thing should not be happening,” he said.
Haitian authorities blamed the gang 400 Mawozo for the kidnappings. Officials said the group was also responsible for the abduction of five Catholic priests and two nuns earlier this year. The situation has not only left many on the streets and in fear of their lives but without resources.
“By them closing that it cuts off all resources there’s no food in the supermarkets, there’s no gasoline, so no one can travel,” said Caponni.