by: Mary Murphy
CHESTER, N.Y. — Ana Apatino of Chester was horrified when she heard about 17 Christian missionaries kidnapped Sunday near Ganthier in Haiti, five children among them.
Apatino was already keeping a tense vigil for her cousin, Joel Pineda, a 29-year-old trucker from the Dominican Republic who was kidnapped in Haiti 11 days ago with three fellow truckers.
“It’s the same group as the missionaries,” Apatino said of the 400 Mawozo gang, the heavily-armed group that grabbed the Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries volunteers on their way to the Port au Prince airport Sunday.
“He and his three partners were kidnapped when they were making their weekly delivery to Haiti,” Apatino said of her cousin.
“My cousin lives in Santo Domingo,” Apatino added, referring to the capital city of the Dominican Republic.
“They were kidnapped after crossing Jimaní, the border with Haiti,” Apatino said. “They were going to Port au Prince,”
Apatino said Dominican representatives for the truck drivers’ union had gone to the Dominican-Haitian border, seeking to get information about the kidnapped men.
Dominican families have been protesting outside government offices in Santo Domingo, insisting officials there are not doing enough to help the truckers.
Haiti Kidnappings: These protestors in #SantoDomingo , DR, demand help for Dominican truckers abducted 11 days ago by the 400 Mawozo gang in #Haiti. On Sunday, heavily-armed gang kidnapped 17, US-based missionaries, including 5 children. Do they want ransom? pic.twitter.com/g2zDsrr1ur
There’s been a huge spike in kidnappings in Haiti in the last year and a half, with 328 abduction victims reported for the first eight months of 2021.
Some are freed after ransom is paid.
A deacon was fatally shot outside a church in the capital of Port-au-Prince and his wife was kidnapped.
The country has been badly destabilized since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in the bedroom of his home on July 7.
Then, a month later, a 7.2 magnitude quake devastated Haiti, killing more than 2,200 people.
Back on April 11, the gang kidnapped ten people, including five priests and two nuns from France doing ministry in Haiti. They were held three weeks before their release, and it’s not clear if any ransom was paid by the Roman Catholic Church to secure their freedom.
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OCEAN HILL, Brooklyn – Students at an Ocean Hill school are getting their community better access to healthy food through their very own farm stand.
The farm stand, set up outside PS/IS 178, is open to the public. Student Saliemata Bayo, who’s in the seventh grade, said they’re here to lend a helping hand to the surrounding neighborhood.
“There’s not a lot of fruits and vegetables in our community and even if there are, it costs a lot of money and the junk food is less, so we’re help to the community,” Bayo said.
Carla Etienne, also in seventh grade, recognizes its value.
“It’s important because a lot of different stores and markets do not have fresh food,” Etienne said. “If you see, some of the fruits are rotten or some of them got chemicals.”
EAST NEW YORK, Brooklyn — It’s said that one person can make a difference, and in one Brooklyn community, a group of seniors took that to the extreme.
The group at the Pink Houses in East New York helped raise $230,000 for a new outdoor fitness hub. It was the vision of Colette Pean, Karen Caldwell and the Pink House’s Resident Association.
MANHATTAN — A brawl in a Manhattan high school on Wednesday left six safety agents with injuries, officials said.
Two of the wounded school safety agents (SSAs) needed to be sent to the hospital for treatment after the fight at Washington Irving High School, a spokesman for the union representing the agents said. No weapons were used during the melee.