An armed gang abducted a group of missionaries from the United States and their relatives in Haiti on Saturday, reported Sunday Christian Aid Ministries, the organization to which the missionaries belong. Its about seventeen people: seven women, five men and five children. One of them is Canadian nationality, the remaining sixteen are U.S. citizens.
The missionaries were kidnapped when they were on their way to the airport by bus after visiting an orphanage in the capital Port-au-Prince to drop off part of the group. What exactly happened to the group is unknown, except that the kidnapped are being held by a gang called 400 Mawozo.
Gang violence is on the rise in Port-au-Prince, including through abductions. According to some estimates, gangs currently own about half of the city. Since the murder of President Jovenel Moïse in July and an earthquake in August, killing more than 2,000 people, violence has only increased. Another school bus was shot on Monday, with five wounded. A bus was hijacked further down town.
Human rights organizations have called for the immediate release of missionaries. “We are calling for the liberation of the abducted persons, whether American citizens or other nationalities,” said Gedeon Jean, for example, of the Center for Analysis and Research in Human Rights, based in Port-au-Prince. He called the current situation “detrimental to human dignity”