International News

Haitian Priest, Father Antoine Macaire Christian Noah, Kidnapped Near Port-au-Prince

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The Tablet Staff

A priest in Haiti was abducted on Tuesday, according to The Claretian Missionaries’ Independent Delegation for the Antilles.

Father Antoine Macaire Christian Noah was on his way to Kazal — his missionary community, which is located about 20 miles north of Port-au-Prince, the country’s capital — when he was kidnapped in the morning.

The kidnappers have demanded a ransom for his release, according to a statement from the Claretians posted on Facebook.

Macaire is a native of Cameroon and has been the parochial vicar at St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Kazal for one year, according to the Catholic News Agency.

The kidnapping is the latest violence against Catholic missionaries in Haiti. 

Father Antonio Menegón, a Camiliian priest, told the Vatican news agency Fides in December 2022 that armed gangs were running the country and have been attacking Catholic schools and hospitals.

“Unprecedented” violence is spreading throughout Haiti, Father Menegón reported.

The priest warned that this situation creates “insecurity, fear, hunger, and despair, and as if that were not enough, the cholera emergency has returned, which especially kills children.”

Father Menegón explained that “the armed gangs that rule the country are increasingly aggressive and now they run everything. The prices of primary goods, such as food, fuel, and medicine, have more than tripled.

“Violent youths have destroyed, looted, and burned fuel depots, as well as supermarkets, churches, Caritas food banks, and other international humanitarian organizations,” Father Menegón said. “Hospitals, one after another, are closing due to lack of fuel, electricity, food, and medicine,” he added.

At least 60% of Port-au-Prince is under the control of armed groups, according to a report by the BBC.

There were roughly 1,100 kidnappings on the island nation last year, the U.N. reported — making it a major source of income for gangs.

Since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in July of 2021, the country has yet to hold a new presidential election — creating a power vacuum that has seen an increase in violence and lawlessness.

A month after the assassination, an earthquake devastated Haiti — exasperating matters even more and further aggravating the plight of Haitians.

According to the World Bank, Haiti is “the poorest country in the Latin American and Caribbean region and one of the poorest countries in the world.”