Dominican Republic says diplomat kidnapped in Haiti released

The incident comes amid uptick in violence and kidnappings as gangs jockey for influence amid ongoing political crisis.

Haiti violence
A police officer patrols a street during an anti-gang operation in Croix-des-Missions north of Port-au-Prince, Haiti [File: Odelyn Joseph/AP Photo]

The foreign minister of the Dominican Republic has said that a diplomat kidnapped in Haiti in late April has been released.

On Wednesday, Roberto Alvarez tweeted that Carlitin Guillen Tatis, an adviser to the country’s embassy in April, had been released “safe and sound” following “four days of kidnapping”.

“We thank everyone who actively participated in his release,” Alvarez wrote without giving further details.

The incident occurred as Haiti has seen an uptick in violence and kidnappings as powerful gangs jockey for more control in the country amid a political power vacuum left in the wake of the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in July 2021.

Fighting between gangs has forced some families to flee their homes in the capital, Port-au-Prince, with the country’s Civil Protection Agency blaming the most recent spate of violence on a fight between the Chen Mechan gang and the rival 400 Mawozo gang which was involved in the kidnapping of 17 US and Canadian missionaries last year.

Dominican Republic Ambassador to Haiti Faruk Miguel Castillo had previously said that Guillen Tatis was apparently kidnapped in the Croix-des-Bouquets district of the Haitian capital, an area that is a stronghold of 400 Mawozo.

On Sunday, the ambassador said he had requested that Haiti’s Foreign Ministry carry out an investigation into Guillen Tatis’s whereabouts.

Julio Ernesto Florian, head of the Dominican Republic’s army, also told local media on Tuesday that the military would use drones and intelligence personnel to find information on the missing diplomat.

The announcement of the release came just hours after Haiti’s national police said that a leader of 400 Mawozo, Germine Joly, who goes by the name “Yonyon”, had been extradited to the United States “following a request for judicial assistance issued by the US judicial authorities”.

Joly, who had already been in jail in Haiti prior to the kidnapping of the 17 missionaries in 2021, faces charges in the US relating to weapons smuggling and the “ransom of American citizens”, the statement said.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies