Haiti Kidnappers Demand $17M for American and Canadian Missionaries

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The gang identified as 400 Mawozo kidnapped a group of missionaries, including 16 Americans and one Canadian, in Haiti and asked for $1 million each for their release, a top Haitian official told CNN Tuesday. The missionaries are associated with the Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries. The abducted group were seven women, five men, and five children ages 3, 6, 14, 15, and also included an 8-month-old baby.

The missionaries were kidnapped after visiting an orphanage Croix-des-Bouquets, a northeast suburb of Port-au-Prince, on Saturday. They were traveling in a sprinter-type van, and the driver was an American who was a part of the group. Their abduction was part of a wave of indiscriminate kidnappings since the assassination of president Jovenel Moise in July 2021.

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Haitian Justice Minister Liszt Quitel told CNN that the kidnappers demanded $17 million for the group’s release. The group was held outside of Croix-des-Bouquets, the Port-au-Prince suburb controlled by the gang, he added.

Christian Aid Ministries’ staff received a call from the on Saturday, at 4:53 p.m., stating their ransom demands and several calls after that.  According to Quitel, the police negotiators and the FBI advised the missionary group how to proceed. The FBI agents in Haiti are assisting with the investigation but have not spoken to the kidnappers.

Kidnappings in Haiti Due to 400 Mawozo

According to the Center for Analysis and Research for Human Rights (CARDH), the rise of kidnapping in Haiti is due to the 400 Mawozo gang who engage in daily confrontations with the police. The gang of 150 members has been growing in strength for nearly three years, and their hallmark of activity is kidnapping for ransom. This year, they have abducted dozens of people and foreign nationals.

This year, about 628 kidnappings have been reported in Haiti since January, and the gang demanded a ransom of about $20,000.

Written by Janet Grace Ortigas
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware

CNN: Haiti gang wants $17M ransom for kidnapped American and Canadian missionaries; by Matt Rivers, AnneClaire Stapleton, Tara John, and Karen Smith
France24: Haiti kidnappers demand $17m ransom for North American missionaries

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Inset Image Courtesy of Hispaniola News’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License                                                    

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