A gang in Haiti has kidnapped 17 missionaries and their families (five children, seven women and five men). Sixteen of the group were Americans and one was Canadian.
All the individuals work with Christian Aid Ministries (CAM), a large missionary organization, based in Ohio. It operates in 126 countries and in addition to evangelistic work, the organization provides medical and financial aid as well as disaster relief.
One of the kidnapped missionaries had just arrived in Haiti the day before to help with relief associated with the massive earthquake (7.2 magnitude) that hit the country on Aug 14, 2021.
The Daily Mail adds that one of the missionaries managed to share a message on WhatsApp as they were being kidnapped:
‘Please pray for us!! We are being held hostage, they kidnapped our driver. Pray pray pray. We don’t know where they are taking us.’
The group was kidnapped on Saturday, Oct 16, 2021, after visiting an orphanage in Ganthiet by the 400 Mawozo gang.
According to reports, the gang had previously kidnapped five priests and two nuns earlier this year and is responsible for about 80% of the kidnapping in the country.
The NY Times states there have been 628 kidnappings in Haiti between January 2021 and September 2021.
According to the Daily Mail, the gang’s leader, Wilson Joseph, who calls himself “Death without Days” is wanted for murder, attempted murder, and kidnapping. He reportedly brags about the gang’s criminal activities on social media.
Experts believe the missionaries will not be harmed and suspect the gang will demand $1 million each for their hostages. It is believed that the missionaries are probably being held in Croix-des-Bouquets which is controlled by the gang.
CAM is asking for prayer as the organization negotiates the release of their missionaries.