Christian Aid Ministries is asking for continued prayers for 17 missionaries who were kidnapped at gunpoint in Haiti one month ago.
The Ohio-based ministry posted an update Monday to mark one month since 17 aid workers – six men, six women and five children – were kidnapped by the 400 Mawozo gang on October 16 after leaving an orphanage in the rural community of Ganthier.
In a statement on its website, Christian Aid Ministries asked for ‘patience and prayer,’ as they continue to work to bring the hostages back home.
‘Many people, including CAM management and government authorities, are working diligently to bring our loved ones home safely,’ the statement said. ‘We are grateful for the assistance of those knowledgeable and experienced in dealing with kidnapping cases.’
Christian Aid Ministries has asked for ‘patience and prayer,’ as they continue to work to bring the hostages back home
State Rep. Reggie Stoltzfus (pictured) said he is doing everything he can to make sure the 17 missionaries are not forgotten even though an entire month has passed
‘Ask God to give courage to the families of the hostages as they await news about their loved ones. Their trust in God has been a powerful testimony of God’s faithfulness,’ the charity said.
On October 16, members of the 400 Mawozo gang kidnapped the 17 missionaries, including an eight-month-old baby, in the Croix-des-Bouquets area as they were returning from visiting an orphanage.
Groups that follow kidnappings in Haiti believe they are being held in the town of Croix-des-Bouquets, which is controlled by the notorious gang.
In a video posted to social media in October, 400 Mawozo leader Wilson Joseph threatened to kill the 17 hostages if he didn’t receive a ransom of up to $1 million for each person.
‘I swear by thunder that if I don’t get what I’m asking for, I will put a bullet in the heads of these Americans,’ Joseph said.
On October 16, members of the 400 Mawozo gang (pictured) kidnapped the 17 missionaries, including an eight-month-old baby, in the Croix-des-Bouquets area
The 17 missionaries were kidnapped in the Croix-des-Bouquets area in Haiti as they were returning from visiting an orphanage
On November 5, the US government said it had seen proof that at least some members of the group of American and Canadian missionaries were alive, according to a senior Biden administration official.
In April, the gang abducted 10 people including five priests and two nuns – among them, two French citizens.
The 10 were released after three weeks and said they had not been tortured or harmed, but suffered from a lack of food and medications.
A ransom was paid in that case.
The same day that the missionaries were kidnapped, a gang also abducted a Haiti university professor, according to a statement that Haiti’s ombudsman-like Office of Citizen Protection.
It also noted that a Haitian pastor abducted earlier this month has not been released despite a ransom being paid.
‘The criminals … operate with complete impunity, attacking all members of society,’ the organization said.
State Rep. Reggie Stoltzfus spoke to FOX 8 and said he is working to ensure the 17 missionaries are not forgotten even though an entire month has passed.
‘I just don’t want this to go by the wayside. I don’t want people to forget about this. We have 16 Americans and one Canadian being held hostage in Haiti,’ he said.
Stoltzfus called on congressional leaders to take action.
‘I am urging them to act, do whatever is necessary to bring these missionaries home,’ said Stoltzfus.
Stoltzfus told FOX 8 he filed House Resolution 147 asking for diplomacy to obtain the release of 17 hostages and also called on the public to contact their representatives in Washington.
In April, the 400 Mawozo gang (pictured) abducted 10 people including five priests and two nuns – among them, two French citizens
The missionaries were traveling from the Croix des Bouquets area, where they had been building an orphanage, to the Port-au-Prince airport. They were adducted near Carrefour Boen and La Tremblay 17 on the road to Ganthier
The FBI has yet to successfully secure negotiations with the 400 Mawozo gang to rescue 17 missionaries.
Details about the law enforcement effort have been sparse. President Joe Biden is being briefed daily on the law enforcement effort, officials have said.
Last week, the US Embassy in Port-au-Prince urged US aid workers in Haiti to flee while commercial flights are still available. The United Nations reminded people to stock up for at least two weeks of groceries, water and other essential items.
This year Haiti, an already poverty-stricken nation, experienced myriad challenges, such as the July 7 assassination of President Jovenel Moise and a 7.2 earthquake that struck the capital in August.
Locals fear that the kidnapping problem and the fuel crisis will impede efforts to recover, calling it the worst crisis since the 1990s.
Last week over 1,000 religious leaders signed a letter to President Biden asking for support for Haiti.
‘The U.S. must support a transitional government in re-establishing legitimate police and judicial institutions that ensure public safety, bring corrupt politicians and elites to justice, and protect human rights,’ the letter from Faith in Action read.
In recent days, security in Haiti has exponentially deteriorated.
At least 328 kidnapping victims were reported to Haiti’s National Police in the first eight months of 2021, compared with a total of 234 for all of 2020, according to a report issued last month by the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti.
Abductions dropped briefly after Moïse’s assassination but surged again to 73 in August and to 117 in September.
This year’s surge has been so large that Port-au-Prince is now posting more kidnappings in absolute terms than Bogotá, Mexico City and São Paulo combined.
Gangs — which are estimated to control roughly half of Port-au-Prince — have demanded ransoms ranging from thousands of dollars to more than $1 million, according to authorities.
Haiti has the highest per-capita kidnapping rate worldwide.
Kidnappings in the country have increased 300 percent between July and September, when at least 221 abductions recorded.
The rise in abductions has coincided with the nation’s deepening political turmoil following the July 7 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse.
Port-au-Prince is now posting more kidnappings in absolute terms than Bogotá, Mexico City and São Paulo combined.
At least 328 kidnapping victims were reported to Haiti’s National Police in the first eight months of 2021, compared with a total of 234 for all of 2020.
Abductions dropped briefly after Moïse’s assassination, but surged again to 73 in August and to 117 in September.
Gangs are responsible for most of the nation’s kidnappings and have been accused of abducting schoolchildren, doctors, police officers, busloads of passengers and others.
In recent weeks, people have been taken while attending church and commuting to work. Preachers have been abducted while delivering sermons.
Gang members have even kidnapped poor street vendors who have little to no money. These individuals are then forced to sell items from their homes, such as radios or refrigerators, to afford their freedom.
In another instance, a group of schoolchildren came together to raise money to pay their classmate’s ransom.
The 400 Mawozo gang, which abducted 17 missionaries and their families on Oct. 16, is responsible for approximately 80 percent of the kidnappings in Haiti.
400 Mawozo is known for its ‘collective kidnappings’ in which they abduct entire cars or buses of people.
The gang’s leader, Lanmò San Jou (Death Without Days), has been wanted by the Haitian government for several months.
The Police Nationale d’Haiti publicly announced they were searching for Lanmò San Jou in December 2020. They claimed he was on the run following the first phase of an operation to dismantle the gang.
Published by Associated Newspapers Ltd
Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group