Haiti police recapture kidnapper freed in mass jailbreak

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Police recaptured an alleged kidnapper who escaped custody during a mass breakout that authorities believe was staged for him at a prison outside the Haitian capital, officials said Tuesday.

Clifford Brandt was taken into custody in the Haitian town of Cornillon, near the border with the Dominican Republic, Communications Minister Rudy Heriveaux said.

Brandt, the son of a prominent Haitian businessman, was in a vehicle with several other prisoners involved in the breakout, said Ed Lozama, a spokesman Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe.

“They tried to escape but were quickly apprehended,” Lozama said.

On Sunday, gunmen stormed a prison in Croix-des-Bouquets on the outskirts of the capital and wounded two guards in an attack that authorities believe was intended to free Brandt. In the ensuing chaos, police said 329 prisoners escaped.

Police have fanned out across the country in search of the escaped prisoners and appealed for help from the neighbouring Dominican Republic as well as nearby Jamaica, fearing some may have fled abroad.

“The government will not rest until every single one is in custody,” Lozama said.

Brandt, who owns a car dealership and whose family has extensive business holdings in this Caribbean country, had been in custody since October 2012. He was awaiting trial on charges stemmed from the kidnapping of the adult children of another Haitian businessman.

At the time, his lawyer denied any criminal conduct and said the allegations stemmed from a family dispute.

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