Up to 16 American Christian missionaries and their families, including children, have reportedly been kidnapped by a notorious gang in Haiti’s capital of Port-au-Prince.
“The former field director, Dan Hooley, said Sunday morning that all of the adults were staff members for the group [Christian Aid Ministries], which has fewer than 30 people in the country,” The New York Times reported. “Local authorities said the group that was kidnapped included 16 Americans and one Canadian. Mr. Dooley said a 2-year-old and another young child were among them.”
Law enforcement officials said that the gang, known as “400 Mawozo,” controls the area where the missionaries were kidnapped.
“The group has sown terror for several months in the suburbs, engaging in armed combat with rival gangs and perpetrating the kidnapping of businessmen and police officers,” the Times reported separately. “The gang has also introduced a new type of kidnapping in Haiti — kidnapping en masse. For the first time Haiti began to see entire groups kidnapped while transiting on buses or together on the streets.”
The Ohio-based group was kidnapped as they were traveling by vehicle on Saturday to an area north of Port-au-Prince after visiting an orphanage in Croix des Bouquets.