Kidnapping: April 2021 bulletin (#4) – English

Activités Monitoring

Crime Observation Unit

Port-au-Prince, 4 May 2021

I. Number of kidnappings

  1. At least 91 kidnappings[1] were recorded for the month of April, compared to 27 in March, an increase of over 300%. Forty-nine (49) were recorded during the 15 days of the « interim » governance of Mr. Claude Joseph, representing 54%. The second quarter of 2021 announces a strong increase, as 65 occurred in January, including five (5) foreign nationals.
From March to April, the number of kidnappings increased of over 300%
54% of kidnappings under the governance of Claude Joseph

  1. In April, many kidnappings were not reported, particularly in Carrefour, Croix-des-Bouquets and Port-au-Prince. In addition, following the failure of the police operation on April 20 in Martissant to place barriers and containers to isolate gangs, the latter have taken over National Road #2 and traffic in the area. Many passengers, mostly in their cars (more than a dozen), were abducted. Some were released the same day. The number of kidnappings could amount to one hundred.

II. Kidnappings by geographical area, nationality and social group

  1. Geographic areas. Kidnappings occurred in Port-au-Prince (on average 43%); %; in Delmas, (0n average 22%) ; in Croix-des-Bouquets, (on average 19%) ; in Carrefour, (on average 16%). It should be noted that this does not mean that there were no kidnappings in the other departments.
    C) Nationality. Two foreign nationals were abducted.
  2. Social groups. Almost all social groups are affected by this plague: lawyers, doctors, students, shopkeepers (small, medium, large), police officers…

III. Gangs’ locations

  1. Some gangs are more involved in kidnapping than others: Gran Ravin; Village-de-Dieu; 400 Marozo; Savien. However, they are often interconnected. Some gangs kidnap, either for another gang or guided by their information. The request may come from a person from a social life sector directly or indirectly involved in serious crime (arms and human trafficking, greed for or transfer of monopolies, political greed, elections…). The motives for kidnapping are diverse (criminal, competitive, economic, political…).
  1. Allied gangs (not well known) carry out kidnappings and, depending on the captives, negotiate and transfer them to other more structured gangs.

IV. General considerations

  1. Appointment « ad interim » of de facto Prime Minister Claude Joseph. Appointed on March 2, 2020, to replace Jean-Michel Lapin, the de facto Prime Minister Joseph Jouthe resigned during the night of April 13 to 14, 2021. A few hours later, Mr. Jovenel Moïse, de facto president, asserted that this resignation « will make it possible to address the glaring problem of insecurity (…) » and appointed « ad interim » Mr. Claude Joseph, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cults, as Prime Minister.
  2. Mr. Claude Joseph immediately embarked on a major propaganda campaign: tours of police stations and specialized units, press releases, tweets, etc. However, under his administration, from April 14 to 30, 49 kidnappings, representing more than 50%, were recorded.
  3. State of Emergency of March 16, 2021. A decree revising the law of 15 April 2010 on the state of emergency was published in the official gazette le Moniteur on 15 March 2021.  In addition, a decree issued on March 16 established a state of emergency in: Village-de-Dieu; Grand-Ravine; Delmas 2; Savien (Petite-Rivière de l’Artibonite) for one month. This decree also concerns all areas identified by the Superior Council of the National Police.
  4. From April 1 to April 16, the end of the state of emergency, the CARDH recorded at least 29 kidnappings, representing more than those for the month of March.
  5. Ransom demands.  The ransoms requested are between 100,000 and 1,000,000 US dollars. Only five people were reportedly released without being held for ransom, four of whom were released after the intervention of another gang leader.

V. Conclusion

  1. Increased poverty. The families of the kidnapped are forced to sell their possessions, take out unconditional loans to pay the ransom. Sometimes they are forced to pay a second ransom, and the one delivering it gets kidnapped[2]. Already living in great vulnerability, the middle class, hit hard by the phenomenon, falls into poverty.
  2. A new flourishing and easy economic-criminal industry. Here is a new flourishing and very easy economic-criminal industry that is opening in Haiti, of which the poor of the middle class are paying the price under the complicit gaze of Mr. Jovenel Moïse and all his unconstitutional and illegitimate administration. In the North, more precisely in Milot (Mòn Gran Gil/Pon Blan), gangs have already federated under the name of 5G.
  3. Who are the real perpetrators of the kidnapping industry? In addition to the armed groups that are obviously responsible, other social categories are involved. Where do the millions of American dollars from kidnapping go? How can they be integrated into the economy? What role will the upcoming elections play in laundering them[3]?
  4. Kidnapping of Coralie and Nicolas Moscoso. On October 16, 2012, Coralie and Nicolas Moscoso (aged 23 and 24), foreign nationals, were kidnapped on Bourdon road by a group led by businessman Cliford Brandt. 2.5 million dollars had been demanded. Arrested the following October 22, with his accomplices Edner Comé and Ricot Pierre-Val M, Mr. Brandt was sentenced on December 11, 2019 to 20 years of detention and hard labor by the Criminal Court of Gonaives, presided over by Judge Dénis Pierre Michel. Note that Carlo Bendel Saint-Fort, for his part, received a sentence of 17 years in this case.
  5. Gallil Gang (led by Woodly Ethéart, aka Sonson La Familia). The order of March 5, 2015 sent before the criminal court for « kidnapping followed by kidnapping for ransom, murder, illegal drug trafficking, vehicle theft, illegal possession of firearms, forgery, usurpation of title, asset laundering, complicity in asset laundering and criminal association »: Alain Cérélus, known as Commander, Jeff Dupiton, alias Peter Bryant, Woodly Ethéart, Renel Nelfort, Kerwins Jacques Mathurin, Brunet Augustin, Cézard Laforest, Bergeaud Jean, Marie Hermithe Saint-Juste, Marie Thaïssa Mazile Ethéart, Eddy Félix, Carl Henry Félix, Gérald François, Walder Saint-Juste, Bellance Benoit, and Jolerme so known.
  6. At least seventeen (17) people kidnapped, bringing in at least 1.889.500 US dollars, two murders and missing persons are to the credit of the Gallil gang. In a controversial non-jury-assisted hearing on April 17, 2015, Judge Lamarre Bélizaire released them.
  7. About public and private ports. All day long, shipments of weapons and ammunition are discovered in public (Saint-Marc, Port-de-Paix, Cap Haitian, Port-au-Prince…) and private (Laffito…) ports. Weapons intended for the police are diverted. According to CNDDR, 11 families are involved in the illicit trafficking of weapons and ammunition. Very influential people in the Jovenel Moïse administration support the gangs with money, weapons, ammunition and information.
  8. New strategies in relation to the expansion of gangs (over 150). Today, with more than 150 armed groups throughout the country, better structured (G9 an fanmi e alyé [family and allies]/5G) and positioned, new strategies are being implemented. Gangs are used to guard the kidnapped. Odma, the former chief of Savien, has pointed this out many times. When they become embarrassing, they are executed. For example, Arnel Joseph[4], former gang leader of Village-de-Dieu, escaped from the Croix-des-Bouquets prison following a planned mutiny and was executed in Montrouis as he was about to return to his base.
  9. The complexity of the kidnapping cannot be approached solely on the basis of internal parameters. Thus, it is necessary to explore avenues related to transnational crime.

French version : Kidnapping : bulletin #4 – avril 2021

[1] It should be noted that this figure may be revised upwards in the annual report, should the mechanisms instituted in the process provide additional reliable information.

[2] For example: Mr. Jean-Baptiste Condestin was abducted on March 5, 2021, while bringing the ransom demanded for the release of his father, who was abducted on February 28, 2021, at his gas pump in Mariani. Another ransom was paid for his release.
Mr. Kénol Félix, owner of the Sainte-Rose de Lima funeral business, was kidnapped on the morning of March 19, 2021, on Saint-Honoré Street, near the business. The kidnappers kidnapped the person in charge of carrying the ransom and kept Mr. Felix until the following April 2, when he was released for another ransom. On their way back from a funeral, a woman and her husband were kidnapped in Mariani (south entrance of Port-au-Prince). The kidnappers repeatedly raped her while her husband watched helplessly. After the payment, she was released in order to bring another ransom to obtain the release of the husband. The husband was executed while the lady who brought the ransom looked on.

[3] Around 1995 and 1996, drug money, corruption and other criminal activities began to influence public power. This process gave birth to a 47th legislature (2000 elections), with many drug dealers and the public administration was largely controlled by this money (laundering…)..

[4] Arrested on July 22, 2019 in Les Cayes, South Department, Arnel Joseph appeared respectively on January 25, 2021 before the investigating judge Ykenson Edumé. There is no doubt that sensitive information was shared.