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Haitian gang seeks $ 17 million ransom for kidnapped U.S. missionaries

FBI agents and other US authorities are helping Haitian authorities search for 12 abducted adults and 5 children associated with the Christian Aid Ministry of Ohio.

Haiti’s Port-au-Prince — As quoted by The Wall Street Journal, a gang kidnapped 17 members of a US-based missionary group demanded them a ransom of $ 17 million, according to the Haiti Minister of Justice.

Justice Minister Liszt Quitel said the gang is demanding $ 1 million per person. Quitel didn’t immediately return a message for comment, but he also confirmed the number with the New York Times. The journal said it identified the abducted children as 8 months, 3, 6, 14 and 15 years old.

A wave of kidnapping triggered protest strikes, damaging Haiti’s poor economy and closing businesses, schools and public transport, and unions and other groups vowed to continue closing on Tuesday.

FBI agents and other U.S. authorities help Haitian authorities search for 12 adults and 5 children associated with Christian Aid, Ohio, who were kidnapped on Saturday during a trip to an orphanage. I am.

This is the largest of these types of abductions reported in recent years, with the country from the assassination of President Jovenel Moise on July 7 and the magnitude 7.2 earthquake that struck southern Haiti on August 14. As they try to recover, Haitian gangs are becoming more brave and abductions are on the rise. And killed more than 2,200 people.

“We are calling on the authorities to take action,” said Jean-Louis Abaki, a moto taxi driver who went on strike on Monday to condemn the killings and kidnappings of the poorest countries in the cerebral hemisphere.

The normally chaotic streets of Haiti’s capital are quiet and almost empty, so Mr. Abaki said that if Prime Minister Ariel Henry and police chief Leon Charles want to maintain power, “give the people a security opportunity. Must be. “

Haitian police told The Associated Press that the kidnapping of 16 Americans and 1 Canadian was carried out by the 400 Mawozo Gang, a group with a long record of murder, kidnapping and blackmail. In April, a man claiming to be the leader of the gang told radio stations that he was responsible for kidnapping three relatives that month: five priests, two nuns, and one priest. They were released later.

Haiti’s United Nations Department of Integration reported last month that at least 328 kidnappings were reported to Haiti’s national police during the first eight months of 2021, for a total of 234 in 2020.

Gangsters have been accused of abducting schoolchildren, doctors, police officers, bus passengers and more as they became more powerful and demanded hundreds to millions of dollars in ransom.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price said US authorities are in constant contact with Haiti’s national police, missionary groups, and relatives of the victims.

“This has been our top priority since Saturday,” he said, adding that authorities “are doing everything they can to seek a quick solution to this.”

UN spokesman Stephen Dujaric said increased gang violence is affecting relief efforts in Haiti. He said a UN resident and humanitarian coordinator reported: The situation is further complicated by a very serious fuel shortage and reduced supply of supplies. “

Dujaric said the Haitian government should double its efforts to reform and strengthen police stations to deal with public security and should investigate all crimes.

The Christian Aid ministry said the kidnapped group included six women, including two, six men and five children. A sign on the door of the Organization Headquarters in Berlin, Ohio said it was closed due to a kidnapping.

Among the kidnapped people were four children from a Michigan family and one of their parents, their minister told The Detroit News. The youngest of the family is under the age of 10, said Minister Ron Marks, who refused to identify them. He said they arrived in Haiti earlier this month.

A pair of traveling Christians stopped at the organization’s headquarters on Monday and two young children unloaded their luggage for a poor country. Originally from California, Tirtzah Rarick said she and her friends prayed on Sunday with relatives among the abductees.

“It is painful and weeping that our friends, relatives and dear brothers and sisters are now suffering in a very realistic physical, mental and emotional way, but these heavy burdens. It is comforting to us to be able to bring in, to the God we worship, “she said.

The kidnapping news said Marcus Yoder, executive director of the Amish & Mennonite Heritage Center near Millersburg, Ohio, spread rapidly in and around Holmes County, Ohio.

Christian Aid Ministry is supported by conservative Mennonites, Amish, and related groups in the Anabaptist tradition.

The organization was founded in the early 1980s and began working in Haiti later in the decade, said Steven Nolt, a professor of history and anabaptist research at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania. He said the group has year-round mission staff in Haiti and several countries, shipping religious, school and medical supplies worldwide.

Conservative Anabaptists, while controversial on technology and other issues, share traditions such as modest dress, separation from mainstream society, tightly controlled congregations, and non-resistance to violence. increase.

The Amish and Mennonite communities in Holmes County are closely linked to the missionary organizations serving Haiti.

Every September, the Ohio Haiti Benefits Auction sells handmade furniture, quilts, firewood and utensils, and serves barbecue chicken, Haitian beans and rice on a plate. According to one of the organizers, Aaron Miller, the event typically brings about $ 600,000 divided into 18 missionary groups.

Koto reported from San Juan, Puerto Rico. Associated Press videographer Pierre Richard Luxama of Port-au-Prince and AP writers Eric Tucker and Matthewley (Washington), Edith M. Rederer (UN), Peter Smith (Pittsburgh), John Seewer (Toledo, Ohio), Julie Carsmith (Berlin, Ohio contributed to this report.

Haitian gang seeks $ 17 million ransom for kidnapped U.S. missionaries

Source link Haitian gang seeks $ 17 million ransom for kidnapped U.S. missionaries

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