UPDATED 9:07 AM PT – Monday, October 18, 2021
U.S. officials are working with Haitian authorities to seek the release of a group of American missionaries who were kidnapped by a notorious Haitian gang. Haitian police on Sunday said the U.S. based missionary group was abducted by the 400 Mawozo Gang, noting U.S. authorities were reaching out to the gang regarding the group’s release.
This came after the gang abducted the collection of 12 adults and five children while they volunteered at a orphanage outside the nation’s capital. Locals said the abduction fosters fear throughout the nation hindering commerce.
“When we hear (there is a kidnapping), the effect of the kidnapping, (we know) there’s not going to be (good for) drivers,” explained Charles Pierre, a motorcycle taxi driver. “People do not go out in the streets. We can not find people to transport. We have a wife (and) four to five children, and a family, children. (We) have responsibilities at home.”
The gang is responsible for a number of violent kidnappings and extortion plots throughout the impoverished nation over the last few years, including the kidnapping of five priests and two nuns earlier this year. In response, a State Department spokesman said the “welfare and safety” of U.S. citizens abroad is their highest priority.