Strikers protest Haiti's lack security following kidnappings

On Monday, the normally chaotic streets of Haiti's capital were mostly empty as thousands of workers protested against the lack of security. This strike was initiated two days after 17 missionary members from the United States were kidnapped by a violent gang.

Strikers protest Haiti's lack security following kidnappings

The FBI and American officials were working together with Haitian authorities in order to secure the release from Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries the 12 adults as well as five children who vanished Saturday on a visit to an orphanage.

This was the most recent reported kidnapping. Haitian gangs are becoming more aggressive amid political instability, an economic crisis that is worsening and a rise in violence that is causing more people to flee the country.

According to The Associated Press, the 400 Mawozo gang was responsible for the kidnapping and killing of Haitian police officers.

Authorities sought to release the 16 Americans and the Canadian. However, the strike by local unions and other organizations disrupted many aspects of daily life. The strike was led by local unions and other organizations.

Holin Alexis, a motorbike taxi driver who joined in the strike, stated that "the population cannot take it anymore."

Barricades of burning tires were used to close streets in the capital, as well as other cities such Les Cayes, in southern Haiti. Some people also threw rocks at cars that passed.

Marc Saint-Pierre was one of only a few moto-taxi drivers who zoomed through Port-au-Prince in search of customers. He claimed he was attacked because he worked on Monday, but that he had no choice.

"I have children and must bring food to my home today."

The Western Hemisphere's most poor nation is facing a new crisis. Gang-related kidnappings have increased since President Jovenel Moise was shot to death at his private residence July 7, and more than 2,200 people were killed by a magnitude 7.2 earthquake in August.

"Everyone is worried. They are kidnapping people from all classes," Mehu changeux, president of Haiti’s Association of Owners and Drivers, stated to Magik9 radio station.

He stated that the work stoppage would continue up until the government can guarantee safety for all.

Sunday's statement by the U.S. State Department stated that it is in regular contact and will continue to work with Haitian officials and other partners.

The agency stated that "The welfare and safety of U.S citizens abroad is one of our highest priorities" in a statement.

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 said that the youngest member of the family is below 10 years old. He declined to identify them. 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 of the organization Monday to drop off aid packages for poor nations. Tirtzah Rarick originally from California said that she and a friend prayed Sunday for those hostages who had relatives.

She said, "Even though it's difficult and it causes us to cry that our friends, relatives, and dear sisters are suffering right now, it is comforting for us 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 (professor of history and Anabaptist Studies at 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.

A Haitian police wanted poster was issued for Wilson Joseph, the alleged leader and leader of the 400 Mawozo Gang. He faces murder, attempted murder, theft, and the hijacking or trucks transporting goods. He is known as "Lanmo Sanjou," which translates to "death doesn’t know when it’s coming".

Authorities say that ransom demands by gangs for ransoms range from just a few hundred dollars to over $1 million. Sometimes they even kill those they abduct.

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.

As they become more powerful, gangs are accused of kidnapping children, doctors, officers, and busloads upon passengers. A man claiming to be the leader 400 Mawozo claimed that the gang had kidnapped five priests, two nuns, and three family members of one priest that month. Later, they were released.