Report: Haiti gang seeks $17M for kidnapped US missionaries

According to the Wall Street Journal, a gang kidnapped 17 members from a U.S.-based missionary organization and demanded $17 million for their release.

Report: Haiti gang seeks $17M for kidnapped US missionaries

Justice Minister Liszt quitel claimed that the gang demanded $1 million per head. Although Quitel did no immediate respond to messages seeking comment, he confirmed the figure to The New York Times. The Journal reported that he identified the ages as 8, 6, 14, and 15 years.

Protest strikes were triggered by a wave of kidnappings that shut down schools, businesses and public transport in Haiti. Unions and other groups pledged to maintain the shutdown on Tuesday.

FBI agents and other U.S. officers are aiding Haitian authorities to find the 12 adults and 5 children kidnapped while they were visiting an orphanage.

This is the largest kidnapping reported in recent years. The country is trying to recover from President Jovenel Moise's assassination on July 7, and the magnitude 7.2 earthquake that devastated southern Haiti on August 14 and killed over 2,200 people.

Jean-Louis Abaki (mototaxi driver) joined the strike Monday to protest the killings and kidnappings of the poorest country in the hemisphere.

Abaki stated that Prime Minister Ariel Henry, National Police Chief Leon Charles, and Haiti's capital, Hati, were in a calm and peaceful atmosphere on Monday.

According to Haitian police, the 400 Mawozo gang abducted the 16 Americans and one Canadian. This group has a history of kidnappings, killings, and extortion. A man claiming to be the leader of the gang told a radio station in April that it had abducted five priests, two nuns, and three family members of one priest that month. Later, they were released.

According to a report by the United Nations Integrated Office Haiti, at least 328 kidnappings were reported in Haiti's first eight months of 2021. This compares with a total 234 in 2020.

Gangs are accused of kidnapping doctors, schoolchildren, police officers, and bus passengers as they become more powerful and demand ransoms that range from a few hundred dollars to many millions.

Ned Price, spokesperson for the U.S. State Department, stated that U.S. officials were in constant contact with Haiti’s National Police, missionary group, and victims' families.

He said that "this is something we have treated with the highest priority since Saturday" and that officials are trying to find a quick solution.

Stephane Dujarric, U.N. spokesperson, stated that Haiti's rise in gang violence had impacted relief efforts. According to Dujarric, the U.N. resident and humanitarian coordination reported that violence, looting and roadblockades, as well as the persistent presence and persistence of armed gangs, all hinder humanitarian access. This situation is made worse by fuel shortages and a reduced supply of goods.

Dujarric stated that Haiti's government must redouble its efforts to reform the police department and to strengthen it to ensure public safety. He also said that all crimes must investigated.

Christian Aid Ministries stated that the kidnapped group consisted of six women, six men, and five children, one being a 2-year old. The sign at the Berlin headquarters of the organization, Ohio, stated that it was closed because of the kidnapping situation.

Their pastor said that four children and one parent from Michigan were among those kidnapped. Minister Ron Marks declined to identify the children, but said that the youngest member of their family was under 10. He said that they arrived in Haiti earlier in the month.

Two young children and a couple of Christians traveling from California stopped by the headquarters Monday to drop off aid packages for poor nations. Tirtzah Rarick originally from California said that she and a friend prayed Sunday for those with relatives among the abductees.

She said, "Even though it's difficult and it causes us to cry that our dear friends and relatives are suffering right now in an extremely real physical, mental, and emotional way, we find comfort in the fact that we can carry these heavy burdens to God that we worship."

Marcus Yoder, the executive director of Amish & Mennonite Heritage Center in Millersburg, Ohio, stated that news of the kidnappings quickly spread in Holmes County, Ohio.

Christian Aid Ministries is supported conservative Mennonite, Amish, and other groups from the Anabaptist tradition.

According to Steven Nolt of Elizabethtown College, Pennsylvania, the organization was established in the 1980s. It began work in Haiti in the latter part of that decade. He said that the group employs a year-round staff to assist in Haiti and other countries and ships medical, religious, and school supplies around the globe.

While conservative Anabaptists may disagree over technology, they share traditional beliefs such as simple, modest clothing, separation form mainstream society, disciplined congregations, and a belief that there is no resistance to violence.

Missionary organizations in Haiti are close to Holmes County's Mennonite and Amish communities.

The Ohio Haiti Benefit Auction sells handmade furniture, tools, firewood, and quilts every September. There is also barbecue chicken, Haitian beans, and rice. Aaron Miller, one organizer, stated that the event usually brings in $600,000. This money is divided between 18 missionary organizations.

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