A Haitian gang called 400 Mawozo kidnapped members of American Christian Aid Ministries last weekend. The criminal gang is now demanding $17 million ransom in exchange for the release of the captives, The Daily Wire reported.
A Million Dollar Each Hostage
The abducted included 16 Americans, one Canadian missionary, and children were among them. According to The Wall Street Journal, the gang asked $1 million for each hostage. Among the missionaries are five children, one of whom is an eight-month-old baby, and the others are three, six, fourteen, and fifteen years old.
On Tuesday, FBI agents were collaborating with the local authorities in the tiny Caribbean nation in desperate efforts to save the hostages. However, their first step in action is to attempt to secure the release without the payment of a ransom.
According to Justice Minister Liszt Quitel, in case the money is to be given, it will help the gang grow stronger as they will utilize it to buy more guns and more ammunition.
The kidnapping happened on Saturday last week when the hostages were taken on their way home inside a vehicle returning home from constructing an orphanage in Croix des Bouquets, the northern part of Port-au-Prince, according to Dan Hooley, the former field director of American Christian Aid Ministries.
Haiti Experienced Kidnapping Resurgence
Haiti is experiencing a resurgence of gang-related kidnappings, which had increased after President Jovenel Mossé was murdered at his private accommodation on July 7, and after a 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck southwest Haiti in August, killing over 2,200 people. According to a spokesperson, the U.S. government was aware of the kidnapping reports.
President Biden has been made aware of the situation, according to White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki. She also confirmed that the FBI investigation is part of the coordinated federal government’s effort to get the involved U.S. citizens to safety.
As gangs gain power, kidnappings of schoolchildren, physicians, police officers, busloads of commuters, and others have been reported. In April, priests and nuns were kidnapped by a gang, prompting a protest similar to the one planned for Monday to protest the country’s lack of security.