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U.S. missionaries kidnapped in Haiti as gangs grow more brazen

WorldOct 18, 2021 12:51AM ET
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2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A sign marks the entrance of the home office of Christian Aid Ministries in Millersburg, Ohio, U.S., October 17, 2021. REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk 2/2

By Gessika Thomas and Brian Ellsworth

PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) -A U.S. Christian aid organization on Sunday said a group of its missionaries had been kidnapped in Haiti, a further sign the Caribbean nation's gangs are growing increasingly brazen amid political and economic crises.

The group was in Haiti to visit an orphanage when their bus was hijacked on Saturday outside the capital Port-au-Prince, according to accounts by other missionaries, amid a spike in kidnappings following the murder of President Jovenel Moise.

Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries said it had no information on who was behind the abduction nor where they took the group, which includes 16 Americans and one Canadian.

"We are seeking God's direction for a resolution, and authorities are seeking ways to help," it said in a statement.

A spokesperson for Haiti's police said they did not have any information to provide about the incident.

The U.S. State Department said it was aware of the reports. U.S. embassies typically do not release information about citizens due to privacy regulations.

The Canadian government said it was working with local authorities and groups to gather more information.

Kidnapping has been on the rise https://www.reuters.com/article/us-haiti-kidnappings-insight-idCAKBN2CD12O for months in Haiti as the impoverished country's economy worsens, though abductions of foreigners are relatively rare.

Victims generally come from the Haitian middle class - teachers, priests, civil servants, small business owners - who cannot afford bodyguards but can scrape together a ransom.

Haitian migrants in September gathered at the U.S. border with Mexico in hopes of finding economic opportunities, only for U.S. authorities to deport some 7,000 of them.

Security experts believe a gang called 400 Mawozo was involved in the abduction of the missionaries.

The group dominates the Croix-des-Bouquets area, east of Port-au-Prince, and is near where the missionaries were reported to have been abducted.

400 Mawozo is suspected being involved in the April kidnapping in the same area of a group of priests and nuns that included French citizens.

U.S. Congressman Adam Kinzinger, an Illinois Republican, told CNN the United States must find the missionaries and seek to negotiate their release without paying a ransom, or should use the military or police to secure their freedom.

"We need to track down where they are and see if negotiations - without paying ransom - are possible. Or do whatever we need to do, on a military front or a police front," said Kinzinger who sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

U.S. missionaries kidnapped in Haiti as gangs grow more brazen
 

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Comments (7)
Todd Gray
Todd Gray Oct 17, 2021 6:59PM ET
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Doesn't the US have satellites over the Caribbean taking photos 24hrs a day?
Jose Cabreja
Jose Cabreja Oct 17, 2021 6:53PM ET
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they were probably out there doing some dirt..it's not like they really go to Haiti to help.
Trevor Roberts
LimitUp Oct 17, 2021 6:53PM ET
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Missionaries try to help the people, crooked politicians etc take advantage of this cursed island. Ask Bill and Hillary about scamming the people there.
Chris Cummins
Chris Cummins Oct 17, 2021 6:53PM ET
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Trevor Roberts  Missionaries spread their disease, nothing more.
king michael
king michael Oct 17, 2021 5:27PM ET
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Time for the army to take action to defend American lives. Working American has been paying about $1 trillion a year to the army.
alex lana
alex lana Oct 17, 2021 5:27PM ET
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hello
Alistair Hume
Alistair Hume Oct 17, 2021 5:27PM ET
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like, really ? who asked them to go in the 1st place .
Chris Cummins
Chris Cummins Oct 17, 2021 5:27PM ET
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Incorrect, $705 billion for all of the entire military, not the Army. Also, I hope none of my tax dollars go to  assisting those people. They knew the risk and believed their god would take care of them. I say we leave it to them and their god.
MuraliKrishna Brahmandam
MuraliKrishna Brahmandam Oct 17, 2021 5:17PM ET
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you can't have the cake and eat it too
MuraliKrishna Brahmandam
MuraliKrishna Brahmandam Oct 17, 2021 5:17PM ET
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Admit the deported Haitians, they will release the hostages. quid pro quo. ***for tat. fair is fair
Millennial Metals
Millennial Metals Oct 17, 2021 4:58PM ET
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Im sure Biden will save them!
Kaveh Sun
Kaveh Sun Oct 17, 2021 4:43PM ET
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If they dont want pull themselves out, why r u trying to help? On the other side of the island, why Domanican dont have problems like they do?
 
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