Faith Under Fire.......
Christian missionaries attacked in Haiti
By Ivan Watson, CNN
November 17, 2010 9:28 p.m. EST
Angry over the cholera epidemic, demonstrators have put up networks of
barricades through the streets of Cap-Haitien, Haiti.
* "We almost made it out of town," says Christian missionary
* Protesters broke the windshield of the bus
* Vehicle made it to the safety of a U.N. peacekeeping camp
Cap-Haitien, Haiti (CNN) -- The Christian Motorcyclists Association
came to Haiti to distribute motorcycles to pastors. Instead, angry
Haitians, some of them on motorbikes, ended up attacking the 11
American missionaries when they tried to flee this city aboard a big,
"We almost made it out of town," team member Terry Gibson told CNN in a
phone call after his team survived the attack unharmed.
Until Wednesday morning, Gibson and his fellow volunteers had been
holed up in a hotel on a hilltop overlooking Cap-Haitien, after
demonstrators put up networks of barricades through the streets and
began attacking the bases of United Nations peacekeepers with rocks,
bottles and petrol bombs. The demonstrators have accused peacekeepers
of starting the cholera outbreak.
The motorcyclist team is part of an American organization that has
hundreds of branches across the country.
One of its goals, Gibson said, is to donate motorcycles to Christian
Rioters cause havoc in Haitian city
"We put wheels under indigenous local pastors," Gibson explained. "We
were presenting seven here in Cap-Haitien. Obviously, that won't happen
Given the violence that has led to the death of at least one protester,
the team decided Wednesday to cut their trip to Haiti short by a week.
A Haitian pastor informed Gibson that the road out of town was open, so
the missionaries climbed aboard a commercial bus and tried to make it
into nearby Dominican Republic.
But on the outskirts of Cap-Haitien, the bus suddenly ran into trouble.
"We saw one guy with a machete raised up and he's running and yelling
and screaming and pointing up ahead. We suspect they put a blockade up
in front of us. That's when we stopped and they busted out the glass on
the door," Gibson recalled.
"Our driver, he was like a NASCAR driver. He started backing up,"
Gibson said. "But they put out two burned-out cars on the road in an
effort to block us."
Gibson said protesters began hurling rocks at the bus and smashed the
windshield. The bus was incapacitated and started spraying oil. At some
point, demonstrators dragged a Haitian employee of the bus company out
of the vehicle and began beating him.
Gibson said the driver then maneuvered the bus onto the sidewalk and
lurched the vehicle forward toward the gate of a nearby U.N.
"I feel like God protected us," Gibson said. "Just the fact that the
bus stopped, died right in front of the U.N. compound, is confirmation
that he's looking out for us."
Peacekeepers from Chile opened the gate and ushered the bus and its
passengers inside the compound.
The 11 CMA representatives were preparing to spend the night with the
Chilean military and pondering their next step for escaping Cap-Haitien.
Gibson insisted that, throughout the adrenaline-packed attack on the
bus, he never felt he was in danger.
The man who was dragged off the bus escaped without serious injury,
"Of course it's a nerve-wracking situation, but I never got the
impression that there was any real effort to do physical harm to us."
Asked what he planned to do Thursday, he said, "Pray a lot."
Journalist Dmitri Fourcand contributed to this report.