One managed to send a message on WhatsApp while the group was being picked up by the kidnappers: “Pray for us, I don’t know where they are taking us”
Seventeen US missionaries were kidnapped overnight along with their families by a criminal gang on the eastern outskirts of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Local security sources have made it known. The missionaries, including some children, are in the hands of an armed gang that, for months, has been organizing thefts and kidnappings in the area between the Haitian capital and the border with the Dominican Republic, said a source who is unable to to clarify whether a ransom demand has been made.
The kidnapping occurred as the group was leaving an orphanage in the capital to reach another destination: the gang blocked the bus they were traveling on and forced them to get off. One of the abductees managed to send a message on WhatsApp while the group was being picked up by the kidnappers. “Please pray for us, we are held hostage, they kidnapped our driver, I don’t know where they are taking us,” says the message, reported by the Washington Post. The newspaper also confirms that the 17 missionaries – 14 adults and 3 children – belong to the Christian group based in Ohio “Christian Aid Ministries” which spread a message to its members asking them to pray “for men, women and children. Held hostage. “The mission director and the US embassy are working to see what can be done, pray that the gang members who kidnapped them find repentance and faith in Jesus Christ,” concludes the message.
Haiti has recently been facing a wave of violence, in which armed gangs play an important role, blocking economic activities in the poorest country of the Americas. The number of kidnappings has increased by 300% since last July: at least 628 people have been kidnapped since last January, 29 of them foreigners. The unrest escalated after two events that left deep wounds: the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in July and an earthquake in August that killed over 2,000 people.