Armed Gang 400 Mazowo Kidnaps 17 Missionaries and Family Members in Haiti
16 Americans and one Canadian were one their way home after building an orphanage in Haiti.
A group of missionaries, who also had five children with them, were abducted on Sunday, 17 October, by an armed gang that calls itself 400 Mazowo, The Guardian reported.
The group comprised of 16 United States (US) citizens and one Canadian citizen, who were kidnapped on Saturday morning while commuting to Port-au-Prince’s Toussaint Louverture airport, in order to go back to their home countries.
They were returning home after building an orphanage in Haiti.
One of the kidnapped Americans had even sent a text message to one of his WhatsApp groups that conveyed information while begging for prayers, according to The Washington Post.
"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.”
A US government spokesperson said that the US government is working on the situation as "the welfare and safety of US citizens abroad is one of the highest priorities of the Department of State”, as quoted by news agency AP.
According to Haitian authorities, 400 Mazowo, which means “inexperienced men” (roughly translated), regularly engages in kidnappings, carjacking, and extortions in areas that are under its control.
Kidnappings have become a frequent occurrence in Haiti, a country still recovering from the assassination of its president earlier this year, along with a terribly destructive earthquake, and also the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of August, Haiti’s national police recorded at least 328 kidnappings in 2021, according to a report by the United Nations office in Haiti.
(With inputs from The Guardian, The Washington Post, and Associated Press.)
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