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Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

Gang kidnapped 17 from Missionary Group Seeks $1 M Ransom per Person


Tue 19 Oct 2021 | 08:15 PM
Ahmad El-Assasy

The Haitian Minister of Justice told The Washington Post on Tuesday that an armed gang in Haiti taking hostage members of an American Christian missionary group is wanting a ransom of $1 million per person in exchange for their release.

The 16 Americans and one Canadian were kidnapped in Haiti on Saturday while working for the Christian Aid Ministries group in Ohio. The hostages include five children, including an eight-month-old baby.

The country's justice minister, Liszt Quitel, said it was unclear whether the ransom included children, and that the gang was likely expected to negotiate. “Usually they request more, then people close to the kidnapped persons will negotiate,” said Quitel. “Usually even when they ask for a ransom they know they don’t get all that they ask.”

Quitel stated that his staff was aiding but was not privy to the talks. “I don’t have the specifics, I don’t want to interfere with whoever is negotiating and the kidnappers,” he said. “Every case is different.”

The abduction was carried out by the 400 Mawozo gang, which is known for mass kidnappings, according to Quitel.

The armed gang has taken control of areas of Ganthier in the Croix-des-Bouquets area, east of Port-au-Prince, where the Christian Aid Ministries truck was kidnapped.

Since an armed gang ambushed their van as they returned from visiting an orphanage, US and Haitian officials have been seeking to secure the group's release.

As the poverty-stricken country attempts to overcome a succession of challenges, the attack was part of an alarming uptick in kidnappings affecting both rich and poor Haitians. Meanwhile, local unions have called a nationwide general strike, which was still going strong on Tuesday as demonstrators marched to the streets of the capital, Port-au-Prince, to protest the country's deteriorating security situation.

The United States has a long-standing policy of refusing to pay ransoms for American citizens held captive abroad. The State Department did not immediately reply to a request for comment on the ransom from The Washington Post.