Haiti gang seeks $17M for kidnapped missionaries: reports
A gang based out of Haiti is calling for a total of $17 million to release a group of American and Canadian missionaries that were kidnapped in the country on Saturday, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The group, consisting of one Canadian and 16 Americans, was finishing up a visit to an orphanage and on their way to the airport when they were reportedly kidnapped by the 400 Moawozo gang in Port-au-Prince, the news outlet noted.
Late Monday, Haitian Justice Minister Liszt Quitel said that the gang asked for $1 million per person in order to release each of the 17 missionaries. They are currently being held in a safe house, according to the gang, the news outlet reported.
Quitel said the Haitian police and the FBI are both in contact with the kidnappers but that negotiations for the safe return of the missionaries could take several weeks, according to the Journal.
The group of people, according to Quitel, consists of five men, seven women and five children ranging in age from 8 months to 15 years old.
A former field director for Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries in Haiti on Sunday told CNN that some of the people in the missionary group were able to get in contact with the head of Christian Aid Ministries, of which they are a part, before they were kidnapped.
“A couple of fellows right away messaged the director and told him what was going on. And one of them was able to drop a pin, and that’s the last thing [the organization] heard until the kidnappers contacted them later in the day,” Dan Hooley said.
Gang activity in Haiti, as well as kidnappings, have reportedly increased in the country in recent years. Political upheaval and the recent assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse has markedly exacerbated issues in the country.
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