US missionaries killed in Haiti gang violence

An American missionary couple were among three people killed in Haiti as widespread gang violence continued in the country.
21-year-old Natalie Lloyd, her 23-year-old husband David and 20-year-old Haitian Jude Montis were ambushed by gunmen as they left the church.
Natalie’s father, Missouri State Senator Ben Baker, confirmed the couple’s death on Facebook.
“Soldiers attacked them tonight and both were killed,” he wrote. “They went to heaven together.”
The couple married in 2022.
Their organization, Missions in Haiti, confirmed to American media that Mr. Montis was the third victim.
In an earlier Facebook post, the organization said the three were attacked by two separate armed groups, starting with an attack by armed men in three vehicles.
When the second group arrived and one gang member was shot dead, the three missionaries were trapped inside the house while the gang went into “full attack mode,” the post added.
“They are dead in there, the gang shot out all the windows in the house and kept shooting,” the post read.
Haitian embassies confirmed that three hours later all three were dead.
The Foreign Office is aware of the deaths, a spokesman told BBC US partner CBS.
“Our sincere condolences go out to the family for their loss,” a spokesman said. “We are ready to provide all necessary consular assistance.”
On X/Twitter, Missouri Governor Mike Parson called the deaths “absolutely heartbreaking news.”
The White House on Friday called for the rapid deployment of an international force led by Kenya to stabilize the country.
“The security situation in Haiti cannot wait,” a National Security Council spokesman said, adding that President Joe Biden pledged support for the “rapid deployment” of troops during talks with the Kenyan president on Thursday.
“Our hearts go out to the families of the victims as they experience unimaginable grief,” the spokesman added.
Kenyan President William Ruto said on Friday in an interview with the BBC that these types of incidents were part of the reason why his country plans to send troops to the country.
“Let’s not lose people. Let’s not lose missionaries. That’s why we made this decision — knowing very well that the responsibility for Haiti’s security is shared,” he said.
“We are doing this to prevent and avoid losing more people to gangs,” he added.
In 2021, 17 North American missionaries were kidnapped and held east of Port-au-Prince in a similar incident.
Kenyan police to arrive in Haiti ‘in three weeks’
Five people were freed and 12 eventually escaped while hiking through dense bush using stars to navigate.
Missions in Haiti have been operating in the country since 2000 and mostly focus on helping Haitian children.
For a week, the Jungs carried out deadly coordinated attacks demanding the resignation of then-prime minister Ariel Henry.
He agreed to resign from his post in March. Nine members of the Transitional Council have now been sworn in to lead the country.
But gangs took advantage of the power vacuum left by Mr. Henry’s departure and expanded their control over large areas of the country.
Kenya is sending an international-led police force to Haiti to help the country’s transitional authorities restore order.
Earlier this week, the UN children’s agency Unicef ​​warned that violence and widespread malnutrition had pushed Haiti’s health system “to the brink of collapse”..

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