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U.S. nurse Alix Dorsainvil and daughter released after kidnap in Haiti, Christian group says

U.S. nurse, daughter released by kidnappers
U.S. nurse and daughter released after kidnapping in Haiti last moth 04:52

An American nurse and her daughter who were kidnapped in Haiti last month were released by their abductors, the El Roi Haiti nonprofit Christian ministry the woman was working for said Wednesday.

Alix Dorsainvil of New Hampshire was working for El Roi Haiti when she and her young daughter were seized in late July. She is the wife of the group's founder, Sandro Dorsainvil.

Witnesses told The Associated Press that Dorsainvil was working in the organization's small brick clinic when armed men burst in and seized her on July 27. 

"It is with a heart of gratitude and immense joy that we at El Roi Haiti confirm the safe release of our staff member and friend, Alix Dorsainvil and her child who were held hostage in Port au Prince," El Roi Haiti said in its blog post confirming their release on Wednesday. The organization did not provide any information about how the pair's release was secured, or if or when they might return to the U.S. from Haiti.

The U.S. State Department had remained silent about any demands made by the kidnappers. On Wednesday, a spokesperson said the State Department welcomed the reports of the Americans' release but declined to provide any information on the circumstances or their condition, deferring to their family.

"As you can imagine, these individuals have been through a very difficult ordeal, both physically and mentally," the spokesperson said in a statement. "We express our deepest appreciation to our Haitian, and U.S. interagency partners for their assistance in facilitating their safe release."

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The kidnapping — one of many in the crime-ridden Haitian capital, much of which has been controlled by heavily armed criminal gangs for months — quickly drew anger from the local community that Dorsainvil was there to help. About 200 Haitians marched through Port-au-Prince several days after the abduction to vent their anger and demand the kidnappers release the American nurse and her daughter.

"Continued rapid gunfire" in the area prompted the closure of the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince for all public consular services on Tuesday, and it remained under those restrictions Wednesday. 

Some members of the community claimed the unidentified kidnappers had asked for $1 million in ransom for Dorsainvil and her daughter — common practice for the armed gangs that have run amok in Haiti's capital since the assassination of the small nation's president in 2021. There have been hundreds of kidnappings in Haiti this year, including 83 in July alone, according to the nonprofit Center for Analysis and Research in Human Rights

The group said "at least 51 foreign nationals from four countries were kidnapped from January" until the beginning of August this year.

Dorsainvil first visited Haiti soon after the massive 2010 earthquake hit the country, and she "fell in love with the people" there, according to El Roi Haiti, which says it aims to expand access to affordable education and teaches a faith-based curriculum to local children.

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