Up to 17 U.S. missionaries kidnapped in Haiti
$!Unos 15 misioneros de Estados Unidos secuestrados en Haití The armed gangs, which for years have controlled the poorest districts of the Haitian capital, have extended their power to and around Port-au-Prince, where the number of kidnappings for ransom is on the rise. (EXTERNAL SOURCE)
Between 15 and 17 Americans, including children, were left in the hands of an armed gang.
Some 15 U.S. missionaries were kidnapped Saturday by a criminal gang on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince, a Haitian security source told AFP.
Between 15 and 17 Americans, including children, were left in the hands of an armed gang that for months has been carrying out kidnappings and robberies in the area between Haiti’s capital and the border with the Dominican Republic, said the source, who said she could not confirm whether the captors have asked for the payment of a ransom.
“The well-being and safety of U.S. citizens abroad is one of our top priorities at the State Department. We know this information and have nothing to add at the moment,” a U.S… government spokesman told AFP.
On Saturday morning, the gang called “400 mawozo” diverted several cars traveling along routes it controls and kidnapped the Americans and Haitian citizens.
The missionaries and their families returned from visiting an orphanage about 30 km from Port-au-Prince, a security service source told AFP. For some members of that religious organization based in Ohio, USA, this was their first trip to Haiti.
In April, ten people, including 10 from a French religious group were kidnapped by the gang in the same area.
Released after 20 days of captivity, Father Michel Briand told AFP at the time that the group was “in a bad place, at a bad time” and that those who abducted them had not planned to kidnap them.
The armed gangs, which for years have controlled the poorest districts of the Haitian capital, have extended their power to and around Port-au-Prince, where the number of kidnappings for ransom is on the rise.
According to the Center for Human Rights Analysis and Research, more than 600 such crimes were recorded in the first three quarters of 2021, up from 231 in the same period in 2020, based in the Haitian capital.
A deep political crisis has paralyzed Haiti’s socio-economic development for many years.
The July 7 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse by an armed commando at his private residence plunged the Caribbean country further into uncertainty.