According to the group, the missionaries were returning home after building an orphanage.
According to a voicemail sent by an organization with direct knowledge to several religious missions, a group of 17 U.S. missionaries including children was kidnapped in Haiti by a gang on Saturday.
According to an Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries message, the missionaries were returning home after building an orphanage.
The one-minute message stated, “This is a prayer alert.” “Pray for the repentance of the gang members.”
The message stated that the mission’s field chief is working with the U.S Embassy and that his family and another unidentified man stayed at ministry’s base, while everyone else was taken to the orphanage.
A spokesperson for the U.S. government stated that they had received reports about the kidnapping.
The spokesperson stated that “The welfare and safety of U.S citizens abroad is one of our highest priorities of Department of State,” but declined further comment.
Christian Aid Ministries stated Sunday that the kidnapped group, which included five men, seven women and five children, was made up of 16 U.S citizens and one Canadian citizen.
“Join us as we pray for the hostages, the kidnappers and the families, friends and churches of the affected.” The group released a statement saying that they pray for those seeking God’s guidance and making decisions in this matter.
The 400 Mawozo gang abducted the group, which included elderly people, in Ganthier. This commune is east of Port-au-Prince’s capital, according to Frantz Champagne, a Haitian police inspector.
This gang was also responsible for the kidnapping of five priests in Haiti and two nuns earlier in the year.
According to authorities, the gang’s name roughly translated to 400 “inexperienced men” and controls Croix-des-Bouquets, which includes Ganthier. They are responsible for kidnappings, carjackings, and extorting business owners.
Haiti is again facing a surge in gang-related kidnappings. This spike was after President Jovenel Moise was shot to death at his private residence on Jul 7, and after a 7.2-magnitude earthquake in August that killed more than 2,200 people in southwest Haiti.
A deacon was murdered last month in front of a Port-au-Prince church. His wife was also kidnapped. This is just one of many people who were abducted over the past few months.
“My dear, I will tell you honestly that security is something we cannot discuss. Eugenio Gue, Port-au-Prince resident said that security has been “zero”.
Charles Pierre, a taxi driver in the city said that the kidnappings have widespread economic effects.
“People don’t go out on the streets. He said that it was difficult to find people to transport, and it made it difficult to meet family responsibilities.
According to a report by the United Nations Integrated Office (BINUH) last month, at least 328 kidnapping victims have been reported to Haiti’s National Police within the first eight months in 2021. This compares with a total 234 for 2020.
As they become more powerful, gangs are accused of kidnapping doctors, schoolchildren, and police officers.
“Political turmoil and gang violence surges, deteriorating socioeconomic circumstances – including food security and malnutrition – all contribute to the worsening humanitarian situation,” BINUH stated in its report. “An overstretched, under-resourced police force cannot solve the security problems in Haiti.”
The U.N. Security Council unanimously approved Friday’s extension of the U.N. diplomatic mission in Haiti.
The missionaries were kidnapped just days after U.S. officials visited Haiti. They promised more resources to Haiti’s National Police, including $15 million to reduce gang violence. This year, thousands of Haitians have been forced into temporary shelters that are increasingly unsafe.
Uzra Zeya (U.S. undersecretary of state for civil security, democracy and human rights) was one of the people who met with Haiti’s chief police officer.
She recently tweeted that “Dismantling violent Gangs is Vital to Haitian Stability and Citizen Security.”