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US nurse kidnapped in Haiti speaks via video for first time since her release

El Roi Academy students hold up a sign that reads in Creole "We are waiting for Madame Alix," during a press conference to demand the freedom of New Hampshire nurse Alix Dorsainvil and her daughter, who have been reported kidnapped, in the Cite Soleil neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Thursday, Aug. 3, 2023. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — A U.S. nurse who was kidnapped in Haiti last month with her young daughter spoke via video this week for the first time since her release.

Alix Dorsainvil appeared alone in the video and sat in a manicured garden with crickets chirping in the background, thanking people who prayed for her.

The nearly five-minute video in which Dorsainvil spoke entirely in Haitian Creole was posted Monday on the website of El Roi, the Christian group founded by Dorsainvil’s husband that offers medical care, education and other basic services in Haiti’s poorest areas.

“For the gangsters, I have a message for you: I want you guys to know that everything I said during my time in captivity was sincere,” she said in a soft voice. “They were not the manipulative words of someone desperate to escape, but simply the truth, especially when I told you my clinic doors are always open to you or anyone in need.”

Dorsainvil also shared that while she was kidnapped, one gang member told her, “Nurse Alix, the people of Duvivier are marching for you,” in reference to those who lived in the community where she worked.

“This encouraged me a lot because I knew you were standing with me during that difficult time,” she said. “Thank you because it took a lot of courage for you to do that.”

She also told the gang members who kidnapped her that she would care for them “without any prejudice and receive you with open arms.”

“I want you to know that I hold no grudges against you in my heart. That doesn’t mean that I agree with what you are doing. Especially what you are doing against your own Haitian brothers and sisters,” she said. “Even if ransom is paid and the victims are released, this particular event leaves a scar in their hearts. That will never go away.”

Dorsainvil, of New Hampshire, and her daughter were kidnapped July 27 and released unharmed nearly two weeks later. El Roi did not provide any other details, including whether a ransom was paid.

She said she needs time to heal, to pray and seek God’s direction for what may come next, adding that if it were solely her decision, she would be back at work in the clinic.

Dorsainvil was among the more than 950 people reported kidnapped in Haiti from Jan. 1 to Aug. 15 as the country struggles with a surge in killings and kidnappings, according to the United Nations.

Dr. Samson Marseille, the director of Haiti’s epidemiological department, was kidnapped the same day as Dorsainvil. Earlier this month, colleagues demanded his release.