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‘We want them to come home safely’: Haitian members of Columbus community react to abduction of Ohio group

There's been a spike in gang-related kidnappings in Haiti following years of political unrest.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — "They went there to help so we really want them to come home safely,” said Marc FeQuiere, the Founder & Executive Director of Haitian Community Network based in Columbus.

FeQuiere said Monday he is not sure how much more his native country can take. From political unrest to deadly and destructive natural disasters, and now, a rise in violent kidnappings.

A group of six men, six women, and five children was abducted Saturday while on a trip to visit an orphanage. They are members of Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries.

According to an update on its website Monday the ministry organization wrote "[c]ivil authorities in Haiti and the United States are aware of what has happened and are offering assistance." 

There's been a level 4 travel advisory, the highest level, for Haiti from the Department of State since August due to kidnapping, crime and civil unrest.
According to the warning: “Travelers are sometimes followed and violently attacked and robbed shortly after leaving the Port-au-Prince international airport." 

"Having family members and friends there you know it's just hard,” said FeQuiere. “You go to bed at night and you don't know what's going to happen the next day.”

Sophia Dugue is an associate director at Haitian Community Network.

"We don't want to see that. We want to see our country move forward we want to see our people be happy because if one Haitian is hurting, all of us are hurting,” she said.

Governor Mike DeWine said Monday he can't comment on this particular kidnapping case, however, he does have ties to Haiti as a school there is named in memory of his daughter, Becky DeWine and he knows many Ohioans often travel to Haiti to offer help.

"At any one given time there are a lot of Ohioans in Haiti,” Governor DeWine said.

The FBI is on the ground assisting in the hostage negotiations in Haiti.

The Department of State provided an update at 2 p.m. Monday and said they are “seeking a quick resolution” but would not share specific details about the gang and if the U.S. has been in contact with it.

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