Win McNamee / Getty Images
The 400 Mawozo armed gang, one of the most dangerous in Haiti, is responsible for the kidnapping of 17 people, the majority American missionaries and their families, reported this Sunday American media.
Police sources cited by The New York Times and Haitian organizations mentioned by The Washington Post blame this armed gang for the kidnapping, which has been sowing terror for years in the suburbs of Port-au-Prince and which controls part of the town of Ganthier, where the abduction took place.
The band has recently focused on churches and religious groups.
In April this gang kidnapped 10 people, including several religious, two of them French, who were released at the end of that month in a case that precipitated the resignation of the then Haitian Prime Minister, Joseph Jouthe.
The group abducted this Saturday consisted of 3 children and 14 adults, all of them members of the missionaries association Christian Aid Ministries, based in the state of Ohio, in the midwestern United States.
This was confirmed to The New York Times by a member of that association, Dan Hooley, who added that, of those kidnapped, 16 are Americans and one is Canadian, and that 2 of the children are very young, including a 2 year old.
On Saturday night, Christian Aid Ministries sent an audio message that it described as a “prayer alert” and in which it explained that the missionaries had been kidnapped while returning home by bus, after visiting an orphanage in Fond Parisien. , The New York Times and The Washington Post report.
“Pray that the band members will repent and have faith in Jesus Christ,” said the audio message sent to other organizations, adding that the mission director and the US embassy were “working to see what can be done.” .
One of the kidnapped Americans asked for help in a message posted on a WhatsApp group right after the kidnapping, a source familiar with what happened told the Post.
“Please pray for us !! They’ve taken us hostage, they’ve kidnapped our driver. Pray, pray, pray. We don’t know where they are taking us, ”the message read.
Gédéon Jean, director of the Haitian Center for Human Rights Research Analysis (CARDH), assured the Washington newspaper that the “modus operandi” of the aforementioned armed gang is to “hijack entire cars and buses” and then ask “a price to free all the world”.
As reported by EFE, A spokeswoman for the US State Department did not confirm the news of the kidnapping, something that the Haitian authorities have not done directly..
“The welfare and safety of US citizens abroad is one of the highest priorities of the State Department,” the US spokeswoman limited herself to EFE.
Kidnappings have become common in Haiti since the beginning of 2020; They occur indiscriminately and affect people of any social nature, since they have become a source of financing for the armed gangs that control numerous neighborhoods in Port-au-Prince and other areas of the country.
Since the beginning of the year, 628 kidnappings have been reported in the country, including 29 foreigners of three nationalities, according to the CARDH, which warns of an “exponential” increase in abductions in the last two months.
The gangs granted a brief truce in the two-week kidnappings between the assassination of President Jovenel Moise, perpetrated on July 7, and his burial, which took place on July 23, but later reactivated their activity.
YOU MAY ALSO BE INTERESTED IN:
–Keys about the conflict with Haitian immigrants in the United States (podscast)
–Religious leaders in Florida call for Haitian immigrants to receive humane treatment
–Thousands of Haitian immigrants cross Panama en route to the United States.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.