On Saturday October 16, a gang in Haiti kidnapped 17 people (16 Americans and a Canadian) who were participating in a religious mission in the country, in the group there were 3 minors. The Central American country has suffered an increase in these crimes in recent weeks.
A religious mission of the missionaries association Christian Aid Ministries, of 17 people, including 3 children, suffered a kidnapping by a gang in Haiti on Saturday, October 16. The victims were mobilizing to return to the United States, after participating in the construction of an orphanage, when they were intercepted.
The newspaper ‘The New York Times’ cited police sources that blame the 400 Mawozo armed gang, one of the most dangerous in the country, for the kidnapping. The group, which abducted ten people last April, has recently focused on churches and religious organizations.
Christian Aid Ministries, based in the state of Ohio, USA, issued a one-minute message calling for the missionaries to “repent.” The audio also reported that the mission’s field director was working with the US Embassy, but no further details were provided.
A spokesman for the United States government said he was aware of the reports of the kidnapping and asserted that “the well-being and safety of citizens abroad” are one of the highest priorities of the State Department.
This event comes just days after senior US officials toured Haitian soil and promised more resources for the National Police. This package includes $ 15 million to combat gang violence, something that has resurfaced in recent weeks and has led to an escalation of kidnappings.
Gang violence, a scourge that plagues the population of Haiti
The Central American country is experiencing an increase in kidnappings by gangs, something that had decreased after President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated at his residence on July 7 and later a 7.2 earthquake killed more than 2,200 people. in the country.
These gangs have gone on to demand more than a million dollars for the ransoms. However, the escalation of violence grew and there are serious antecedents around this problem.
In September, a deacon was killed outside a church in Port-au-Prince and his wife was kidnapped, one of hundreds of people who suffered these crimes in recent months.
About 328 kidnapping victims were reported to the police in the first eight months of 2021, almost 100 more than in all of 2020, according to a report by the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH). Among them are schoolchildren, priests, nuns, doctors, policemen and even buses full of passengers.
On October 15, the UN Security Council voted unanimously to extend the UN political mission in Haiti, as the country experiences one of its worst moments in history, with widespread poverty and an endemic political crisis that crawls from before Moïse’s murder.
With AP and EFE