An armed gang based in Port-au-Prince kidnapped 17 Christian missionaries and their family members as they were leaving an orphanage in Haiti.
The abduction occurred Saturday, October 17, as the missionaries were heading to Titanyen after visiting an orphanage in the Croix des Bouquets area, reports a former field director of the Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries (CAM).
According to Haiti’s security forces, three minors have been kidnapped.
“Pray that the gang members will come to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ,” said the recorded report.
CAM mission field director said they have coordinated with the American embassy on the next steps to be done.
“The welfare and safety of U.S. citizens abroad are one of the highest priorities of the Department of State,” a U.S. spokesperson said. They offered no other information relative to the kidnapping incident.
Haiti has not yet recovered from the social and political fallout after the assassination of President Jouvenal Mose in July this year.
The crime situation in the impoverished country has worsened since last year, with reported killings of 1,380 in 2020.
Over 150 gangs operate in Haiti, according to the watchdog group Fondasyon Je Klere.
Data from the Center for Analysis and Research in Human Rights in Port-au-Prince showed 628 kidnappings since January this year, 29 of them involving foreigners.
Before his death, President Mose was accused of corruption and close association with criminal gangs.
Haiti’s Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph, a close ally of the late president, has asked the U.S. for assistance by sending over American troops to help stabilize the situation. The Biden administration dismissed the request, saying it would only bring security officials to assess the situation.
Some Haitian politicians questioned PM Joseph’s interim leadership. He assumed command the day after the late president named neurosurgeon Ariel Henry as new prime minister.