Haitian police free kidnapped American citizen

August 30, 2011 - 6:10 PM

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — A U.S. citizen who was kidnapped last week from his home in Haiti's capital was freed Tuesday after police surrounded his captors' hideout, a Haitian police official said.

Frank Jean-Baptiste was rescued by a special police squad at a home in a hillside shantytown south of Port-au-Prince, said Francois Dossous, head of Haiti's anti-kidnapping unit. The kidnappers detected police moving in and fled, he said.

Jean-Baptiste was found unharmed and police took him into custody to ensure his safety.

Kidnappers had demanded a $300,000 ransom but nothing was paid, Dossous said.

Jean-Baptiste was seized last week at his home by men posing as employees of a package delivery service.

The Haitian-American is married to the director of a private school for the children of diplomats and wealthy Haitians.

The abduction raised concerns that kidnappings could be on the rise in Haiti. It happened the same week that a well-known notary was snatched from his BMW, and his body was found in the street a day later.

Police responded by setting up roadblocks throughout the capital but they have not announced any arrests.

After the abductions, the U.S. Embassy warned Americans working in Haiti to remain alert and provided tips on what to do if kidnapped.

Kidnappings in Haiti were once rare but they became commonplace in the crowded capital after former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was toppled in 2004. The country typically sees a spike in the number of abduction as the Christmas season approaches.