By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
Liszt Quitel, Haiti’s justice minister, told media that it was unclear whether children were included in the ransom amount and that the gang was probably expecting to negotiate.
Sixteen Americans and one Canadian with the Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries (CAM) group were kidnapped with the 400 Mawozo gang in Ganthier, east of the capital Port-au-Prince, police said earlier.
400 Mawozo, which roughly translates to “400 “inexperienced men,” is a street gang notorious for violent mass abductions and history of targeting religious figures and churches.
The missionary group was returning from a visit to an orphanage when it was ambushed, according to CAM sources.
Five children are among the hostages, CAM acknowledged in a statement seen by Worthy News. “The ages of the adults being held captive range from 18 to 48. The children’s ages are eight months, three years, six years, 13 years, and 15 years,” the group confirmed.
WORKING WITH AUTHORITIES
CAM said its management, as well as Haitian and U.S. authorities, are working “diligently to bring our loved ones home safely.”
It did not address the reported ransom amount, while Haiti’s justice minister declined to provide more details.
However, CAM urged believers to pray for the kidnapped missionaries and authorities. “We request prayers for the Haitian and American civil authorities who are working to resolve this situation,” it said.
“We believe the command of the Bible in I Timothy 2:2-3—‘Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence,” CAM added.
The kidnapped missionaries attempted to evangelize and provide aid throughout poverty-stricken Haiti, CAM explained. “Their heartfelt desire is to share the love of Jesus. Before the kidnapping, their work throughout Haiti included supporting thousands of needy school children.”
They also were “distributing Bibles and Christian literature, supplying medicines for numerous clinics, teaching Haitian pastors, and providing food for the elderly and vulnerable,” CAM stressed.
INVOLVED IN REBUILDING
In recent months, the missionaries were actively involved in coordinating a rebuilding project for those who lost their homes in the August 2021 earthquake, according to colleagues. “When kidnapped, the group was returning from a visit to an orphanage that receives support from CAM.”
The mission group said it was also praying for the kidnappers who “like all people, are created in the image of God and can be changed if they turn to Him.”
CAM said that “While we desire the safe release of our workers, we also desire that the kidnappers be transformed by the love of Jesus, the only true source of peace, joy, and forgiveness.”
The missionaries’ kidnapping is the latest in a mounting series of abductions and carjackings in Haiti.
Gangs increasingly target devoted Christians and church leaders as well as extorting business owners, according to authorities and Christian aid workers.
Security disintegrated along with the country’s politics when protestors angered by deep-rooted corruption sought the ouster of President Jovenel Moïse two years ago.
The turmoil intensified further after Moïse was assassinated in his home in July. Gangs have used the chaos to become more assertive, according to several sources.
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