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Posted Friday, December 7, 2007
Child kidnappings, increasingly all over Haiti, at least 14 abducted in recent weeks
By The Associated Press

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - Haiti is witnessing a new spate of child kidnappings, with at least 14 youngsters abducted and one killed in the last five weeks, UN and Haitian police said Thursday.

Child kidnappings make up the majority of the 24 abductions reported in an end-of-year surge in the impoverished Caribbean country, UN officials said.

But UN peacekeepers said the situation was worse last year, when 78 total kidnappings were reported in November and police were posted outside schools to protect children.

Christine Kaliks, 5, was snatched from the capital of Port-au-Prince on Monday and taken 40 kilometres north to Arcahaie, where she was held for ransom, Haitian police spokesman Frantz Lerebours said. Police rescued her on Wednesday and arrested her aunt.

UN police spokesman Fred Blaise said many kidnappings "are perpetrated by family members that are trying to get money. You've also got the gangs and the networks of criminals that are involved."

Another girl, age 11, was last seen this week being taken on a boat from Jeremie, on Haiti's southern peninsula. One person was arrested but the girl, whose name was not released, has not been located.

Kidnappers also snatched a three-year-old girl from her mother's arms Monday from a car outside Port-au-Prince, but panicked after spotting police and let her go before speeding away, Blaise said.

At least four people have been arrested in the kidnapping and murder of seven-year-old Schneider Hervil, who was found dead with his legs cut off Nov. 23 after his parents could not pay a $680 ransom.

Abductions increase at this time of year as Haitian gang members try to raise money to buy Christmas presents, UN officials warned.

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