By Claire Gordon • 17 October 2021 • 18:34
A gang in Haiti have kidnapped a group of 17 missionaries according to a voice message sent to multiple religious missions. Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries have direct knowledge of the event and have alerted the other organisations. “This is a special prayer alert,” the one-minute message said. “Pray that the gang members would come to repentance.”
Other information from the voice note states that the mission’s field director was working with the US Embassy. The director’s family had stayed at the mission base while everyone else on the trip had visited the orphanage. It was on their return journey that they were taken.
No other details were available at the time, although a US government spokesperson confirmed they were aware of the kidnapping. “The welfare and safety of U.S. citizens abroad is one of the highest priorities of the Department of State,” the spokesperson said while declining to give any further comment.
There has been a new increase in gang-related kidnapping in the country. A dip in the incidents had been recorded since the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that devastated the island in August but they are now on the rise once more. The ransoms asked for have ranged from $100 to more than $1 million, according to authorities.
It seems no one is safe from the gangs, with accusations of them kidnapping schoolchildren, priests, police officers and others as their range and power grows. More than 328 victims have been reported so far this year, compared to 234 for all of 2020. On Friday 15 October, the U.N. Security Council voted unanimously to extend the U.N. political mission in Haiti.
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