Exhausted by Gang Brutality, Haitians Rally Against Abduction of U.S. Nurse and Daughter

by Michael Nguyen
Haiti Kidnapping Protests

“Liberty” was the rallying cry in the streets surrounding a humanitarian aid compound in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, on Monday, in response to the recent kidnapping of an American nurse and her daughter by armed assailants.

The event drew hundreds of Haitian citizens to march through the gang-ridden territory, expressing outrage at the kidnapping incident that has become emblematic of the escalating violence in the Caribbean country.

Alix Dorsainvil, a woman from New Hampshire, was serving as a community nurse for the religious and humanitarian aid group El Roi Haiti, when she and her daughter were kidnapped from the facility last Thursday, as confirmed by the organization. Dorsainvil is the spouse of the organization’s founder, Sandro Dorsainvil.

Eyewitnesses informed Big Big News that a group of armed men invaded the small brick clinic where Dorsainvil was working and captured her. A patient awaiting a medical checkup, Lormina Louima, reported that one of the men brandished a gun and asked her to remain calm.

“The moment I saw the firearm, I was terrified,” recounted Louima. “I pleaded, ‘I don’t want to witness this, please let me go.’”

Community members reported that the unidentified kidnappers demanded a $1 million ransom, a trend that has become commonplace as Haitian gangs increasingly resort to numerous kidnappings as a means to amass wealth and drain the country’s resources. The local nonprofit organization, Center for Analysis and Research in Human Rights, reports that hundreds have been kidnapped in Haiti this year alone.

Following the 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, gangs have gained control over large parts of Port-au-Prince, committing murder, rape, and spreading fear in communities already crippled by pervasive poverty.

The very day Dorsainvil and her daughter were kidnapped, the U.S. State Department issued a travel warning for Haiti, directing non-emergency personnel to exit the country due to escalating security risks. The advisory noted the rampant nature of kidnappings, with U.S. citizens regularly falling victim.

The spiraling violence has sparked resentment among Haitians, who yearn for peaceful lives.

Protesters, predominantly from the vicinity of El Roi Haiti’s compound, echoed this sentiment as they paraded through the hot streets, brandishing Creole inscriptions in red paint on cardboard signs.

One sign read, “She is contributing positively to our community, set her free.”

Jean Ronald, a local resident among the protesters, asserted that the community has greatly benefitted from the services provided by El Roi Haiti.

Groups like these often represent the only sources of support in areas beyond the reach of law enforcement, but increasing violence has forced many to cease operations, leaving thousands of susceptible families without access to essential services like healthcare or education.

Earlier this month, Doctors Without Borders announced the suspension of services in one of its hospitals after around 20 armed men barged into an operating room and abducted a patient.

As the protesters traversed the area where Dorsainvil was kidnapped, an eerie silence filled the streets. The doors to her clinic remained closed, the small brick structure deserted. Ronald and other locals feared that this latest incident might result in the clinic’s permanent closure.

“If they depart, all their programs will cease,” lamented the Haitian local. “We simply don’t have the ransom money they’re demanding.”

Shortly thereafter, the protest ended.

Matthew Miller, a spokesman for the State Department, declined to confirm whether the kidnappers had made any demands, or respond to additional questions.

“We are aware of the reports that two U.S. citizens were kidnapped in Haiti. Ensuring the safety and security of American citizens overseas remains our utmost priority. We maintain regular contact with Haitian authorities and will continue to collaborate with them and our U.S. government interagency partners. However, due to the ongoing law enforcement investigation, I cannot disclose further details,” Miller stated on Monday.

In a video for El Roi Haiti’s website, Dorsainvil portrays Haitians as “resilient people.”

“They radiate joy, life, and love. I am privileged to know so many incredible Haitians,” she conveys.

Dorsainvil is a graduate of Regis College in Weston, Massachusetts, which supports nursing education in Haiti. Prior to that, she attended Cornerstone Christian Academy in Ossipee, New Hampshire.

The school posted on its Facebook page, “Pray that God keeps her safe, supports her during this trial, and secures her release from her captors.”

When contacted in New Hampshire, Dorsainvil’s father, Steven Comeau, said he was unable to comment.

El Roi Haiti lauded Dorsainvil’s work in a weekend statement.

“Alix is a deeply compassionate and caring individual who regards Haiti as her home and the Haitian people as her friends and family,” stated El Roi president and co-founder Jason Brown. “Alix has worked relentlessly as our school and community nurse to alleviate suffering, loving and serving the people of Haiti in Jesus’ name.”

Earlier this month, the National Human Rights Defense Network issued a report warning of an increase in killings and kidnappings, while the U.N. Security Council convened to discuss the deteriorating situation in Haiti.


This story received contributions from AP reporters Megan Janetsky in Mexico City and Pierre Richard Luxama in Port-au-Prince.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Haiti Kidnapping Protests

Who are the victims of the recent kidnapping incident in Haiti?

The victims are Alix Dorsainvil, a U.S. nurse working for the humanitarian aid group El Roi Haiti, and her daughter.

What was the response of the local community to the kidnapping?

The local community responded with a protest march through the gang-controlled area. Their outcry was against the kidnapping and the escalating gang violence.

What is the kidnappers’ demand, according to the community members?

The kidnappers have reportedly demanded a ransom of $1 million.

What advisory did the U.S. State Department issue in response to the situation?

The U.S. State Department issued a “do not travel” advisory for Haiti and ordered nonemergency personnel to leave due to growing security concerns.

What is the current state of violence in Haiti?

The violence in Haiti has been escalating, with gangs taking control of large parts of Port-au-Prince. Kidnappings, killings, and rapes have become rampant, especially since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in 2021.

What is the potential impact on local humanitarian aid operations due to the worsening violence?

Increasing violence has forced many humanitarian aid operations to cease, leaving thousands of vulnerable families without access to basic services like healthcare and education.

What does Alix Dorsainvil do for El Roi Haiti?

Alix Dorsainvil serves as a community nurse for El Roi Haiti, contributing to the welfare of the local community.

More about Haiti Kidnapping Protests

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John P. August 1, 2023 - 10:12 am

Terrible to hear about the situation in Haiti. It just seems like one crisis after another. The international community needs to do more!

Marie Z. August 1, 2023 - 10:29 am

all this violence is heart breaking. praying for peace in Haiti soon.

Liam D August 1, 2023 - 1:31 pm

these gangs are out of control! the Haitian government needs to take charge and get these streets back!

Jenny G August 1, 2023 - 4:22 pm

When will all this end, the world needs to pay more attention to whats happening in haiti, it’s been too long!

Megan R. August 1, 2023 - 10:33 pm

Honestly, it’s heroes like Alix who give us hope. She’s been there helping people even though the situation’s so risky. hope she’s safe…

David S. August 2, 2023 - 12:42 am

this is crazy!!! $1 million in ransom?? Where do they expect people to get this kind of money from.

George K August 2, 2023 - 2:38 am

Its a shame that the people who are trying to help the community are being targeted like this. Something has to change.


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