According to reports, gangs in Haiti are holding at least 15- 17 US missionaries as well their families. While the country is notoriously known for its kidnappings it is unusual to abduct such large numbers of foreigners.
The group was kidnapped on Saturday, while traveling on a bus not far from the Caribbean nation’s capital, Port-au-Prince, an initial report by the New York TimesThis was the stated. Citing Haitian officials, the NYT said 17 hostages – among them US missionaries and their family members – had been abducted. CNN reported that the group had at least three kids. CNN reports that local security officials confirmed Sunday to CNN that at most 15 Americans were kidnapped and claimed they were being held captive by an armed gang.
After visiting an orphanage, they were heading toward the airport when one member posted an SOS message to a WhatsApp group. The following was cited by Washington Post, it read, “They are holding us hostage. They took our driver. Please pray. We don’t know where they are taking us.”
No further details about the missionaries or their church is currently available, but news of their abduction was disseminated among other religious aid groups via a “special prayer alert” sent out by Ohio’s Christian Aid Ministries, which is said to have direct knowledge of the incident. According to the statement, the field director of mission who was kidnapped members of his team had been at Haiti’s base at the time. He is now working with US Embassy to end the crisis.
No official statement has so far been issued by the embassy, while the US State Department said it was “These reports should be known,” but did not provide any further details.
Haiti has been in turmoil since years. The security and economic situation has worsened over the past several months, however, after President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated at his residence in July, and an earthquake hit the country in August, killing more than 2,000 people and leaving tens of thousands homeless.
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Recent kidnappings are more frequent in this country. They often take place in open daylight. The abducted are schoolchildren, pastors and police officers on patrol. The world’s highest per capita kidnapping rate, this year’s abductions have risen dramatically to 600. Since January, there have been at least 628 kidnappings. 29 were foreigners. The United Nations Integrated Office Haiti reported that 234 kidnappings had been reported to police in 2020.
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