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26771: (news) Chamberlain: Haiti-Kidnappings (fwd)
From: Greg Chamberlain <GregChamberlain@compuserve.com>
By ALFRED de MONTESQUIOU
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Dec 3 (AP) -- Gunmen who kidnapped a Haitian journalist
and his father released them on Saturday after fellow reporters paid their
Wadson Desir, a journalist for radio Metropole and a contributor to
Radio France Internationale, was kidnapped on Friday -- the day an American
missionary was released amid a wave of abductions in Haiti ahead of next
month's national elections.
"I'm all right now, it was more fright than harm," Desir, 27, told The
Associated Press in a telephone interview about an hour after his release.
Joseph Guyler Delva, who heads the Haitian association SOS Journalistes,
said fellow journalists pooled money for the $4,500 ranson.
Desir and his father were kidnapped in an area bordering the highly
volatile slum of Cite Soleil, a base for gangs blamed for much of the
violence in the capital and the scene of several recent kidnappings --
including those of the U.S. missionary and 14 schoolchildren released
earlier this week.
Desir said he and his father were abducted within eyesight of a unit of
U.N. peacekeepers, who did not intervene.
Damian Onses-Cardona, spokesman for the U.N. mission in Haiti, said he
was surprised to hear Desir's account and that if peacekeepers had
witnessed the kidnapping, they probably had not intervened because of heavy
shooting in the area.
Desir was the second journalist kidnapped in Haiti in recent months.
Jacques Roche, who worked for the newspaper Le Matin and hosted a TV talk
show, was found tortured to death last July after he was abducted.