American Couple Among Three Missionaries Killed by Gang in Haiti

Sat May 25 2024
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WASHINGTON, United States: An American couple were among three missionaries shot and killed by a gang outside a church in the Haitian capital, which has endured months of extreme violence with deadly attacks on hospitals, prisons and government buildings.

The Mission to Haiti, an Oklahoma-based nonprofit founded in 2000, said Davy and Natalie Lloyd and a third person were killed by gunmen Thursday night in Port-au-Prince.

The third victim was identified by US media as Jude Montis, the Haitian director of missions in Haiti.

“Davy, Natalie and Jude were shot and killed by a gang at about 9 o’clock this evening,” Missions in Haiti said on its Facebook page on Friday. “We are all devastated.”

It said the missionaries were ambushed by a gang traveling in three vehicles.

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In response to the deaths, the White House called for the rapid deployment of a Kenyan-led multinational force to Haiti to deal with rampant gang violence.

“The security situation in Haiti cannot wait,” a National Security Council spokesman said, noting that President Joe Biden had pledged to support an “expedited deployment” of forces during talks with the Kenyan president on Thursday.

“Our hearts go out to the families of those killed as they experience unimaginable grief,” the spokesman added.

Condolences were also expressed by the spokesman of the UN Secretary General António Guterres, who called it “just another example of violence that spares no one in Haiti”.

The main airport partially reopened this week after being closed since early March after powerful and well-armed gangs that control much of the country launched a coordinated rampage they said was aimed at ousting then-prime minister Ariel Henry.

Henry, who has since resigned, was unable to return home abroad at the time of the attacks due to gang activity.

Haiti has been wracked by poverty, natural disasters, political instability and violence for decades. Since the assassination of Jovenel Moise in 2021, it has had no president and no sitting parliament.

The last elections were held in 2016 and a new transitional government council is struggling to assert its authority, food is running out, tens of thousands of people are fleeing their homes and the health care system is on the verge of collapse.

During his visit to Washington, Kenyan President William Ruto promised that his country’s security deployment in Haiti would try to crush the gangs.

The Biden administration has been intensively searching for a country to lead the mission in Haiti after ruling out sending US forces, which have a long history of intervention in the country.

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