A group of missionaries has been kidnapped in Haiti. Twelve adults and five children were kidnapped by criminals, the aid organization Christian Aid Ministries announced on Sunday. The kidnapping victims are 16 US citizens and one person from Canada. “We ask God’s guidance for a solution,” said a message from the group. “The authorities are looking for ways to help.”
According to a report on television broadcaster CNN, the group was on their way from an orphanage in Croix des Bouquets on the eastern edge of Port-au-Prince to Titanyen, north of the Haitian capital, when they were abducted by members of an armed gang. “We are aware of these reports and currently have no further information,” said the State Department when asked.
Haiti, the poorest country on the American continent, has been plagued by political chaos and criminal violence for years. At the beginning of July, President Jovenel Moïse was shot in his residence, the background remains unclear to this day. The gang mischief scares residents and visitors alike. “Breaking the criminal gangs is critical to the stability of Haiti and the security of its citizens,” wrote State Secretary Uzra Zeya on Twitter during a visit to Haiti earlier this week.
The region where the missionaries were abducted is controlled by gang 400 Mawozo, reported the newspaper “Le Nouvelliste”, citing police circles. The gang abducted ten priests, nuns and family members of a clergyman in April. The abductees were later released.
According to the Washington Post, the number of kidnappings in Haiti in terms of population is the highest in the world. This year it has increased sixfold compared to the same period last year. This is the clearest sign of the country’s slide into anarchy, the newspaper wrote. The kidnappers usually demand high ransom payments and do not hesitate to murder their victims.