Gunmen kidnapped a Haitian pastor and three others during a ceremony that was streamed live on Facebook, media reported on Friday, with the footage widely shared on social media in a country plagued by soaring violence.
In the video, two choir members can be seen singing a hymn before they suddenly drop their mics and cower by the side of the altar. As piano music continues to play, a man wielding a rifle enters the screen and is seen taking them away.
The incident, streamed on Facebook and YouTube on Thursday evening, took place at the Seventh-day Adventist Gospel Kreyol Ministry Church in Diquini on the outskirts of the capital Port-au-Prince, according to the Miami Herald newspaper.
This just happened at my church in Haiti like 20 min ago😭😭😭😭🙌🏾🤦🏾♂️🤦🏾♂️🤦🏾♂️ please help😩😩 pic.twitter.com/cNWYNAKhFt
— Marc🇭🇹 (@marcbrianvil) April 2, 2021
Gregory M. Figaro, whose father, Greger Figaro, is the founder of the ministry, told the Miami Herald that eight to 10 gunmen arrived in two vehicles and kidnapped the pastor and three others, including a pianist.
“If this can happen, then anything is possible in the country because there is no respect for any institution, whether it’s a church or school,” Figaro said, according to the Miami Herald.
Haiti has been rocked by rising violence in recent years, especially by runaway kidnapping-for-ransom incidents which have paralyzed the economy and Haitian society.