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Haiti gang demands $17M ransom for kidnapped American missionaries

1 month 2 weeks 22 hours ago Tuesday, October 19 2021 Oct 19, 2021 October 19, 2021 8:55 AM October 19, 2021 in News
Source: Wall Street Journal

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - American missionaries have been traveling to the Carribean country of Haiti for decades. But in recent weeks, mission trips have become increasingly risky as the area experiences an increase in violence.

Kidnappings have become a frequent occurrence due to the nation's political instability, civil unrest, and extreme poverty.  

Over the weekend, sixteen U.S. nationals and one Canadian who were visiting an orphanage on Saturday as part of their work for Christian Aid Ministries were kidnapped by one of the country's most notorious gangs, a group called 400 Mawozo.

The gang abducted the missionaries Saturday in Port-au-Prince after the missionaries visited the  Maison La Providence de Dieu orphanage, which is situated in a suburb called Croix-des-Bouquets. 

The gang is reportedly holding the victims hostage in a safe house just outside of Croix-des-Bouquets, and demanding a total of $17 million for the group's release, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The FBI and Haitian police are in talks with the kidnappers, and negotiations may take weeks.

The 400 Mawozo gang, which reportedly consists of 150 members, is believed to be responsible for the abductions of dozens of people this year alone. 

The group typically demands ransoms of around $20,000.

CNN reports that at least 628 kidnappings have occurred in Haiti since January, and 29 of the abducted victims were foreigners.

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