Over 17 missionaries kidnapped from Haiti - Negotiations drag on

Negotiations lasted into the fourth day to secure the release of 17 members of a U.S-based missionary group kidnapped by a violent gang demanding $1 million per person.

Over 17 missionaries kidnapped from Haiti - Negotiations drag on

Negotiations lasted into the fourth day to secure the release of 17 members of a U.S-based missionary group kidnapped by a violent gang demanding $1 million per person.

TheEditor
TheEditor
20 October 2021 Wednesday 06:59
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Over 17 missionaries kidnapped from Haiti - Negotiations drag on

Five children aged between 8 and 15 years old are included in the group, but authorities weren't sure if they were included in the ransom, a top Haitian official stated Tuesday. Sixteen of the abductees were Americans, and one Canadian.

According to the Center of Analysis and Research of Human Rights (a local non-profit group), the abduction was one of at most 119 kidnappings in Haiti during the first half of October. The gang also abducted a Haitian driver, bringing the total number of victims to 18.

The official from Haiti, who was not authorized for speaking to the media, said that someone from 400 Mawozo gang made Saturday's ransom demand in a call to a leader at Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries. This happened shortly after the abduction.

The Ohio group stated that "this group of workers has been dedicated to minister throughout poverty stricken Haiti," adding that they had most recently worked on a project to rebuild homes damaged in the magnitude-7.2 earthquake that hit southwestern Haiti on August 14.

According to the organization, the group was returning from visiting an orphanage and was then abducted.

Workers responded to the recent wave kidnappings by staging a strike. They shut down schools, businesses and public transport starting Monday. Haiti's already fragile economy was hit hard by the work stoppage. Unions and other groups pledged to keep the shutdown going indefinitely.

Dozens of people marched through Titanyen on Tuesday demanding the release and peaceful demonstration north of Port-au-Prince. Others carried signs reading "Free the Americans" or "No to Kidnapping!" They explained that the missionaries had helped pay the bills, build roads, and schools.

Beatrice Jean said, "They do so much for us."

The country's fuel crisis has worsened and businesses blame gangs for blocking roads or gas distribution terminals.

On Tuesday, hundreds of motorcycles zoomed through Port-au-Prince's streets. The drivers shouted, "If fuel is not available, we're going all out to burn it!"

One protest was held near the residence of the prime minister, and police used tear gas to disperse a group demanding fuel.

Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, stated Tuesday in Washington that the FBI was part of a coordinated U.S. government effort to liberate the missionaries. The U.S. Embassy at Port-au-Prince coordinated with local officials as well as the families of hostages.

Psaki stated that these groups target U.S. citizens, who they assume have the money and resources to pay ransoms. He also noted that the government has warned Americans not to travel to Haiti.

The U.S. has a long-standing policy of not negotiating with hostage takers. Psaki declined details.

This kidnapping was one of the most serious in recent years. As Haiti tries to recover after President Jovenel Moise's assassination on July 7, and the earthquake that claimed more than 2,200 lives, the gangs in Haiti have become more brazen.

Christian Aid Ministries stated that the kidnapped group consisted of six women, six men, and five children. The sign at Berlin's headquarters, Ohio, stated that it was closed because of the kidnapping situation.

Marcus Yoder, the executive director of Amish & Mennonite Heritage Center in Millersburg, Ohio, stated that news of the kidnappings quickly spread in Holmes County, Ohio. This is the hub of conservative Mennonites and Amish.

Christian Aid Ministries is supported conservative Mennonite, Amish, and other groups that are part the Anabaptist tradition.

According to Steven Nolt of Elizabethtown College, Pennsylvania, the organization was established in the 1980s. It began work in Haiti in the latter part of that decade. He said that the group employs a year-round staff to assist in Haiti and other countries and ships medical, religious, and school supplies around the globe.

Keywords:
Haiti
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