Christian Missionaries From US and Canada Kidnapped in Haiti, Reports Say
12:18 GMT 17.10.2021 (Updated: 12:46 GMT 17.10.2021)
© AP Photo / Joseph OdelynPolice officers patrol in search for suspects in the murder Haiti's President Jovenel Moise, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Thursday, July 8, 2021. Moise was assassinated in an attack on his private residence early Wednesday.
© AP Photo / Joseph Odelyn
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Over a dozen American Christian missionaries and their family members have been kidnapped in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, The New York Times reports.
The kidnapping occurred on Saturday. The newspaper said, citing Haitian security officials, that 17 American missionaries and their family members, including children, were kidnapped by a gang as they were leaving an orphanage.
According to the officials, the missionaries were abducted from a bus that was taking them to the airport to drop off some members of the group before continuing to another destination in Haiti.
© REUTERS / RICARDO ARDUENGOA Haitian National Police officer stands guard during a protest demanding the release of political prisoners in front of the Ministry of Justice and Public Security, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti July 29, 2021
A Haitian National Police officer stands guard during a protest demanding the release of political prisoners in front of the Ministry of Justice and Public Security, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti July 29, 2021
The Haiti24 news website suggested that the missionaries were taken by the 400 Mawozo gang. The outlet also noted that one Canadian national is listed among the kidnapped.
A Department of State spokesperson said that US authorities are aware of the incident and that "the welfare and safety of US citizens abroad" remain their top priority.
Earlier this year, a classroom of students had to raise money to pay the ransom of a fellow student kidnapped by gang members in Haiti, according to The New York Times.
Haiti suffered a devastating earthquake in August in which more than 2,000 people died in addition to facing poverty, rampant gang violence, and a political crisis following the assassination of previous President Jovenel Moise in July.