American embassy staff in Haiti ordered not to leave compound

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (CMC) — Officials at the United States Embassy here have been ordered to remain on the compound until further notice.

The security advisory, issued by the embassy on Saturday, said that ,”Due to ongoing police activity and heavy gunfire in the vicinity of the embassy compound, all personnel are restricted to the mission compounds until further notice.”

Embassy security personnel had earlier advised civilians to avoid large public gatherings and roadblocks, as a precaution.

The embassy’s warnings come as the latest UNICEF report revealed that nearly 300 children and women have been kidnapped in Haiti for the first six months of the year.

These figures, the report said, is almost equal the total number of documented cases for the entire year in 2022, and almost triples the cases in 2021.

The report said that “In most cases, women and children are forcibly taken away by armed groups who use them for financial or tactical purposes. Victims who manage to return home bear deep physical and psychological scars, likely to last for many years.”

“The stories told to us by UNICEF colleagues and partners in the field are shocking and unacceptable,” said Gary Conille, UNICEF regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean.

“Children are not commodities, they are not currency, and they should never be exposed to such violence. The growing trend of kidnappings and abductions is extremely worrying, threatening both the Haitian people and those who have come to their aid,” he added.