By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
(Worthy News) – The U.S. State Department has urged Americans to “depart Haiti now” after kidnappers threatened to kill 17 missionaries, including 16 Americans unless they receive $17 million while the child of an evangelical pastor was shot dead.
The U.S. warning also came amid fears that fuel shortages could add to instability in the impoverished Caribbean nation.
“The Department of State urges U.S. citizens to make plans to depart Haiti now via commercial means,” American officials said in a statement monitored by Worthy News.
“Widespread fuel shortages may limit essential services in an emergency, including access to banks, money transfers, urgent medical care, internet and telecommunications, and public and private transportation options.”
The U.S. Embassy acknowledged that it “is unlikely to be able to assist U.S. citizens in Haiti with departure if commercial options become unavailable.”
COMMERCIAL FLIGHTS UNAVAILABLE
Seats “on commercial flights currently remain available,” the U.S. government stressed.
The troubles came while the Evangelical Theological Seminary of Port-au-Prince, the capital, said its student coordinator, identified as Pastor Stanis Stifinson, was attacked.
The shootings reportedly happened while he and his family were traveling home through Croix-des-Bouquets Saturday. Gunmen attacked their vehicle, and one of his children was killed in the violence, Christians said.
The pastor and his older son were recovering Thursday from gunshot wounds, Worthy News learned.
At the same time, the leader of a Haitian gang who kidnapped 17 North Americans last month has threatened to execute them, according to the video.
The Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries (CAM) linked to the missionaries have urged prayers for the 400 Mawozo gang. “The kidnapping took place on October 16, and we are still waiting and praying for the group of 17 to be released, if God so wills. We request continued prayer for the kidnappers, that God would soften their hearts and that they would experience His love and goodness,” CAM said.
PRAYING FOR HAITI
They also urged prayers for the millions of Haitians trapped in ongoing upheaval. “As you pray, remember the millions of Haitians who are suffering through a time of serious upheaval and unrest,” the group said.
“We desire that God would be their ‘refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble,” it added, referring to Bible verse Psalm 46:1.
Separately the United Nations had urged its employees to stock up on emergency supplies.
Political insecurity has added to difficulties in Haiti, where Christians are among those targeted for kidnappings.
Haiti’s President, Jovenel Moïs, was assassinated in July this year, underscoring fears about rampant violence by crime groups in the troubled nation.
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