Haiti: kidnapped journalist released

Kidnapped Haitian journalist Wadson Desir was freed Saturday on the outskirts of the capital, one day after gunmen seized him following a recent surge of kidnappings in Haiti.

"The gangs didn't beat him, and released him against a reasonable ransom an hour ago," said Rotschild Francois Junior, program director at Radio Metropole, a leading Haitian radio station where Desir works. The station didn't say how much was paid for the ransom or who paid it.

Desir was kidnapped with his father who was then released in the same part of northern Port-au-Prince where U.S. missionary Phillip Snyder and 14 schoolchildren kidnapped, and then were also released for ransom.

The kidnapping spree is part of the chaos and violence engulfing the country as it prepares for a return to democracy, with elections scheduled for Jan. 8.

Gangs allegedly close to ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide frequently skirmish with U.N. peacekeepers striving for control of the Cite Soleil slum in the capital.

Police have said the kidnappings were to raise money to buy more ammunition and were not politically motivated, reported AP. P.T.

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