Tuesday, November 30, 2021

WSJ: Haitian gang demands $ 17 million ransom for kidnapped American and Canadian missionaries

Wall Street Magazine reports that a Haitian gang that claimed responsibility for kidnapping members of an American missionary group is demanding $ 17 million to release them.

According to MagazineHaitian Justice Minister List Quitel says the gang, which calls itself 400 Mawozo, has set a $ 1 million ransom for each of the 16 Americans and one Canadian kidnapped last Saturday outside the capital, Port-au-Prince, when they worked for Ohio-based Christian Help Services. V Magazine According to Minister Kvitel, the group includes five children aged from eight months to 15 years. He says they are being held in a safe house on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince.

FILE – Minister of the Interior and Local Communities List Quitel sits during a ceremony at La Primature in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on July 20, 2021.

Quitel says they are negotiating the release of 17 missionaries without paying the ransom, telling the Journal that “when we give them this money, the money will be used to buy more weapons and ammunition.” He says 400 Mavosos freed five Catholic priests and two nuns they kidnapped in April this year after a ransom was paid for two priests.

The White House said Monday that the FBI is working to find the missionaries and get them to safety.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said President Joe Biden receives regular updates on the FBI and State Department’s efforts.

The State Department said Monday it has a small team working closely with Haitian authorities to find missionaries.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said the US Embassy team is coordinating with the Haitian National Police, a mission group, family members of the victims, and the Canadian government.

The kidnapping of missionaries reflects the kidnapping problem in Haiti that has plagued the country for many years, but has become more prevalent in recent months.

Haitian workers went on strike Monday to protest the security situation in the country.

FILE - A woman walks down a deserted street in Port-au-Prince on October 18, 2021.

FILE – A woman walks down a deserted street in Port-au-Prince on October 18, 2021.

The streets in the capital were mostly quiet as workers stayed at home to denounce the country’s insecurity.

Haiti’s transport industry officials, whose workers are frequently abducted, initially called for a strike last week. The strike on Monday, which was joined by other business groups, took on added significance after the abduction of missionaries.

Most businesses and schools were closed on Monday and public transport stopped.

The Associated Press reported that protesters burned tires in Port-au-Prince and other cities, including Le Quay in the south.

A protester takes a selfie at a burning barricade set up by protesters in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, October 18, 2021.

A protester takes a selfie at a burning barricade set up by protesters in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, October 18, 2021.

The United Nations said Monday that the recent spike in gang violence in Haiti, including kidnapping, is affecting relief operations.

UN spokesman Stefan Dujarrik said gang violence in the capital has displaced at least 19,000 people since June and affected more than 1.5 million people.

A UN report released last month said Haitian police received reports of at least 328 kidnappings in the first eight months of 2021. That’s up from 234 kidnappings in all of 2020.

In August, the United States issued a travel warning to Haiti, urging Americans not to visit the country due to kidnappings and crimes.

The security situation in Haiti has been compounded by the country’s political crisis following the July assassination of President Jovenel Mois. The country is also suffering from the economic crisis and the aftermath of the August earthquake, which killed more than 2,000 people.

Some of the information in this report came from the Associated Press and Reuters.

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