Haitian gang kidnaps 16 American missionaries, one Canadian

A man protests the latest kidnapping in Port au Prince on Saturday. Photo Haitian Times

A man protests the latest kidnapping in Port au Prince in October. Photo Haitian Times

Sixteen American missionaries and one Canadian have been kidnapped in Haiti, by a gang of gunmen.

The missionaries, members of the Mennonite community in Haiti, were abducted Saturday in Ganthier, a commune located east of the capital of Port-au-Prince.

They were on their way home from building an orphanage, in the community.

No group has come out to claim responsibility, but Haitian Police chief has accused a notorious gang called ‘400 Mawozo,’ known for its brazen kidnappings and killings.

Haitian police inspector Frantz Champagne told The Associated Press that the 400 Mawozo gang kidnapped the group.

The group operates in the area of Croix-des-Bouquets and is known for attacking vehicles and kidnapping people from cars and buses, reports Haitian Times.

“This is the type of kidnapping that 400 Mawozo do; we call it a collective kidnapping where they kidnap any entire bus or car,” said Gédéon Jean, who runs the Center for Analysis and Research in Human Rights in Port-au-Prince.

The centre monitors kidnapping in the country.

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Jean said the gang is responsible for about 80% of the kidnappings taking place in Haiti.

The group of missionaries includes five men, seven women, and five children, Christian Aid Ministries confirmed in a statement online.

In a statement Sunday, the mission appealed for prayers to free the 17 captives.

“We request urgent prayer for the group of Christian Aid Ministries workers who were abducted while on a trip to visit an orphanage on Saturday, October 16. We are seeking God’s direction for a resolution, and authorities are seeking ways to help.

“Join us in praying for those who are being held hostage, the kidnappers, and the families, friends, and churches of those affected.

“Pray for those who are seeking God’s direction and making decisions regarding this matter.

“As an organization, we commit this situation to God and trust Him to see us through. May the Lord Jesus be magnified and many more people come to know His love and salvation.”