Haitian Gang Demands $1M Ransom for Each Abducted American Missionaries
The Haitian gang that held missionaries composed of Americans and a Canadian demanded $1 million ransom for each of the captives, said a top Haitian official on Tuesday.
Despite the amount, Associated Press reported that authorities were not clear whether the said amount of ransom included the five children that were kidnapped by the 400 Mawazo gang.
If confirmed, the gang requires at least $17 million in exchange for the freedom of the American missionaries.
According to the official, someone from the Haitian gang demanded the ransom on October 16, Saturday, shortly after the missionaries were held captive by their group, Al Jazeera reported.
Meanwhile, the $1 million ransom for each of the missionaries was confirmed by personnel from the Christian Aid Ministries, the group where the missionaries belong to.
It can be recalled that a group of missionaries from the United States and Canada was abducted while they return from an orphanage in Haiti. The group was composed of adults aging 18-45 years old, and five children aging eight months old; three years old; 13 years old; and 15 years old. One of the captives was known to be a Canadian, while the rest are Americans.
The missionaries were not the first victims of the 400 Mawazo gang this year. Haiti Justice Minister Liszt Quitel noted that the gang kidnapped a group of Catholic priests in April, where five priests, two nuns, and three relatives were given freedom after ransom was paid for two of the priests.
Abduction of Missionaries Prompts Protests in Haiti
As the group remains in the hands of the 400 Mawazo gang, Haitians engaged in protests to free the missionaries.
"They [missionaries] built our schools. They pay our bills... they do everything for us. So now we can't do anything because they kidnapped them," protester Zachary Celsus said.
Strike called by transportation industry leaders shuttered schools and shops in Port-au-Prince on Monday, Reuters reported. By afternoon, they began burning barricades on the streets of Haiti's capital.
On Tuesday, a peaceful demonstration occurred in the streets of Titanyen, with people carrying signs "Free the Americans" and "No to Kidnapping."
"This strike is our way of saying that we can't take it anymore... we live in fear," one protester said.
According to a report from United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti, at least 328 kidnappings were reported to Haiti's National Police in the first eight months of 2021, a higher number compared to last year's 234 recorded reports of abduction.
FBI Works to Free Missionaries
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed on Tuesday that the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) is part of the efforts of the U.S. government to free the missionaries from captivity.
"We know these groups target U.S. citizens who they assume have the resources and finances to pay ransoms, even if that is not the case," Psaki said.
Meanwhile, State Department spokesperson, Ned Price, said on Monday that the U.S. dispatched a small team to Haiti to give aid in efforts of locating and free the missionaries.
Aside from missionaries, Haitian gangs were accused of abducting police officers, school children, bus passengers, and doctors. The gangs were reported to demand ransoms ranging from hundreds to millions of dollars.
This article is owned by Latin Post.
Written BY: Joshua Summers
WATCH: Gang Demands Millions of Dollars in Ransom After Kidnapping 17 Missionaries - From ABC News
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