Kidnapping Ordeal Involving Wycelf’s Employee In Haiti Ends In Triumph

A dramatic ordeal

involving an employee of Wyclef Jean’s Telemax television station in Haiti ended

in triumph last Sunday (Dec. 3), after gunmen freed a television news producer

they had kidnapped for $250,000 in ransom, out of respect for Jean and his efforts

to rebuild the country.

Wyclef and his Yele Haiti program traveled to Haiti on Nov. 30 with the United

Nations’ World Food Programme agency, to present a one-week festival to promote

artistic and cultural development in the country, which is the poorest in the

Western hemisphere. Shortly

after Wyclef landed, Bidthlerson Brutus, an employee of the rapper/producer’s

Haitian television station Telemax, was abducted at gunpoint, becoming the latest

victim in an rash of kidnappings for ransom in Port-au-Prince. The

kidnappings usually involve children and have become the biggest security threat

in Haiti. Brutus

was abducted by gunmen on Thursday, Nov. 30, in front of his house, which is near

the headquarters of Telemax in Port-au-Prince. The

gunmen demanded $250,000 for Brutus’ safe release. Later

in the evening, Wyclef performed in front of 20,000 fans and pleaded for Brutus’

safe return and called for an end to the kidnappings in order for the Haitian

economy to develop.SOS

Journalistes-Haiti, a news media network in Haiti, negotiated Brutus’ release.

According

to the Haitian Times, captors released Brutus, who is also an SOS member,

because of their respect for Wyclef and his efforts to help the impoverished country."We

freed the journalist after considering how much effort Wyclef is doing to help

our sisters and brothers in the forgotten ghettos," said a captor who called

himself the "Commander." "I

don’t like what I’m doing, but I don’t think I have an alternative

for the time being," said the Commander, who has three children himself.

"Sometimes I really want to stop…I wish I could have a normal life. We

also have feelings."Feelings

aside, the kidnappings continue to plague Haiti. Yesterday

(Dec. 13), gunmen abducted 10 children in Port-au-Prince after hijacking a school

bus and a car in a series of daylight assaults. Police

are still seeking the captors and have yet to determine the exact number of children

that were taken from the school bus. Prior

to Wednesday’s incidents, 10 children have been reported as kidnapped since November.

Two

were killed by their captors. According

to reports, Wyclef Jean plans to continue his work to help rebuild Haiti’s economy.

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