Gang that kidnapped missionaries demands $17 million.

October 19, 2021

– AP photo
The orphanage in Haiti where the missionaries had just visited before being kidnapped.

Gang that kidnapped missionaries demands $17 million.

Ages of the abducted children — four of whom are from Hart — are 8 months and 3, 6, 14 and 15 years old.

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — A gang that snatched 17 members of an Ohio-based missionary group — including four children and one adult from Hart — has demanded $17 million in ransom, said Haiti’s justice minister, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Justice Minister Liszt Quitel said the gang is demanding $1 million per person. He identified the ages of the abducted children — four of whom are from Hart — as 8 months and 3, 6, 13 and 15 years. The kidnapped missionaries’ ages range from 8 months to 48 years – including six men, six women and five children.

The hostages had visited an orphanage in the Croix-des-Bouquets suburb prior to their abduction. Liszt Quitel said they are being held in a location outside that suburb, which is controlled by the 400 Mawozo gang that captured them.

Pastor Ron Marks of Hart Dunkard Brethren Church said the local family includes four children and one parent. At least one more family member is in Haiti but was not among the group that was abducted. Marks said the family left for Haiti in early October and was expecting to stay for a few more months. 

The Christian missionaries were snatched Saturday, Oct. 16, near Port-Au-Prince, the capital of a country where kidnappings have become increasingly common. The 400 Mawozo gang is known for kidnappings, extortion and killings.

The gang took the group of 16 US citizens and one Canadian traveling in a sprinter-type van after a trip to the Maison La Providence de Dieu orphanage

The ministries organization was founded in 1981 and works with Amish, Mennonite and other conservative Anabaptist groups to “minister to physical and spiritual needs around the world.”

“This group of workers has been committed to minister throughout poverty-stricken Haiti,” states, Their heart-felt desire is to share the love of Jesus. Before the kidnapping, their work throughout Haiti included supporting thousands of needy school children, distributing Bibles and Christian literature, supplying medicines for numerous clinics, teaching Haitian pastors, and providing food for the elderly and vulnerable. In recent months, they were actively involved in coordinating a rebuilding project for those who lost their homes in the August 2021 earthquake. When kidnapped, the group was returning from a visit to an orphanage that receives support from Christian Aid Ministries.”

The US government, which has a policy not to negotiate with ransom demands for hostages, is working with authorities in Haiti to get the missionaries released. The US has had a level-four travel advisory against travel to Haiti since August due to the risk of kidnapping, crime, civil unrest and COVID-19.

Haiti has faced upheaval since President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated by gunmen in his home last July — a case local law enforcement has not yet solved.

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