American missionaries kidnapped by gang in Haiti after leaving orphanage, officials says

 

On Saturday, 17 missionaries including children, were reported to be kidnapped by a gang that operates in the capital of Haiti, according to Haitian security officials. This was reported by the New York Times. The Washington Post reported that they had obtained an audio recording from Ohio based Christian Aid Ministries that stated that “men, women and children” who were a part of the ministry had been held by an armed gang.

The outlet reported that the voice in the recording also said, “The mission field director and the American embassy” were working together to deal with the incident. The voice also asked for prayers for the gang members to “come to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.” It also said that Christian Aid Ministry has not responded when asked for comment.

Organizations monitor kidnappings in Haiti and they said that the dreaded 400 Mawozo gang, which operates in most of Port-au-Prince, was behind the abduction. The gang has been responsible for many kidnappings that involved kidnapping a entire group of people who travel by cars or buses.

The BBC reported that the Christian missionaries were kidnapped after they left Croix-des-Bouquets, a town in Haiti. They reportedly left an orphanage in a bus and were traveling to the airport.

A security source told AFP news agency that they are still being held by the gang. The US state department told the outlet that it had seen the reports. It also said that one of its highest priorities was the safety of American citizens, who were abroad.

The island-nation has faced political upheaval from years. After the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in July and a devastating earthquake that killed over 2,000 in August, Haiti had seen a small lull in gang activity. Some analysts had said that Moise had patronized gangs and that they still have a lot of support from political members and that the turmoil in Haiti is increasing the brazenness of their activities.

The kidnapped in Haiti include both the rich and the poor for sums ranging from a couple of hundred dollars to several thousands of dollars. When the poor are kidnapped they are made to sell their household possessions. When a school child was kidnapped, students helped to personally donate or collect money to save the child.

 


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