A gang abducted 17 missionaries and their family members in Haiti. The police confirmed that. It is not said to be the first kidnapping of the “400 Mawozo” gang, who presumably want to extort ransom.

Seventeen North American missionaries and family members have been kidnapped in Haiti. According to the police, there is also a two-year-old child. Police inspector Frantz Champagne told the AP news agency that a criminal organization called “400 Mawozo” had taken control of the group east of the capital Port-au-Prince. According to the Christian organization Christian Aid Ministries, 16 US citizens and one Canadian are affected.

The US government said it was aware of the reports. “The welfare and safety of US citizens abroad is a top priority for the State Department,” it said. You are in contact with the authorities in Haiti.

Lots of kidnappings, poor security

According to Haitian police, the gang is also responsible for the kidnapping of five priests, two nuns and three relatives of one of the priests in April. “400 Mawozo” claimed responsibility for this in a radio message. The abductees were later released.

The security situation in Haiti has deteriorated further. Last month, a deacon was killed outside a church in the capital, Port-au-Prince, and his wife was abducted – one of dozens of cases in the past few months. Gangs are also accused of kidnapping school children, doctors, police officers and buses with passengers.

President assassinated in July

The poorest country on the American continent has been plagued by political chaos and criminal violence for years. At the beginning of July, President Jovenel Moïse was shot in his residence, the background remains unclear to this day. The gang mischief scares residents and visitors alike. “Breaking the criminal gangs is critical to the stability of Haiti and the security of its citizens,” wrote State Secretary Uzra Zeya on Twitter during a visit to Haiti earlier this week.