Three worshipers were abducted in Haiti by gang members as they were leaving a church in the capital city of Port-au-Prince following Sunday Mass.
According to local media, the kidnappers are asking for large sums of money as ransom.
In Haiti, the number of kidnappings for ransom has skyrocketed recently, and clergy and places of worship are increasingly being targeted.
A "living nightmare," according to the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the United Nations.
On Sunday morning local time, witnesses reported that two people who regularly attend services at the First Baptist Church in the city's center were kidnapped by gang members.
A priest was kidnapped just five days prior while traveling to his missionary community, which is situated 27 kilometers (17 miles) north of the capital.
AT THE GROUND: brutal gangs inside the capital have taken hostages.
Father Antoine Macaire Christian Noah, a priest from Cameroon, had been serving as a parish priest in the remote mountain community of Casale for a year prior to being kidnapped.
The religious group he belongs to, the Claretian Missionaries, claimed that it had received a ransom demand from the gang.
In 2022, more than 1,200 kidnappings were reported in Haiti, which is twice as many as in 2021.
However, crime overall has increased in Haiti, not just kidnapping.
The Brooklyn neighborhood, which is on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince, has seen a sharp rise in gang violence, according to a new UN report released last week.
It explains how one gang uses snipers to kill anyone who enters its territory and how women are gang raped in front of their families to instill fear in areas that are under gang control.
Volker Türk, the High Commissioner for Human Rights for the UN, called the findings "horrifying.".
The book "paints a picture of how people are being harassed and terrorized by criminal gangs for months on end without the state being able to stop it," said Mr. Türk.
Following President Jovenel Mose's murder in July 2021, Haiti descended into anarchy.
Since then, the nation has been governed by Prime Minister Ariel Henry, but he has failed to control the gangs, which now reportedly control 60% of the capital. .
Mr. Henry has repeatedly demanded the deployment of a global force to support police in their battle with criminal gangs.
Mr. Henry claims it is essential to ensuring security so that long-delayed elections can take place but that no country has yet offered to lead such a force.