Between 15 and 17 American citizens – missionaries and their families – were kidnapped Saturday by a gang in a peri-urban area east of Port-au-Prince. They were returning from a visit to an orphanage located about thirty kilometers east of the Haitian capital. For some of these members of the Ohio-based religious organization, this is their first trip to Haiti.
The gang, called “400 mawozo”, hijacked several vehicles from the main roads they control, abducting American citizens as well as an as yet unknown number of Haitian citizens. For months, this armed gang has been multiplying villainous kidnappings and thefts.
“The well-being and safety of American citizens abroad is one of our top priorities at the State Department. We are aware of this information and have nothing to add at this time, ”commented a spokesperson for the US government. It is not known at this time if a ransom demand has been issued.
In April, ten people including two French religious had been kidnapped by this gang in the same area. Released after 20 days of captivity, the father Michel Briand explained that they had “been in the wrong place at the wrong time”, believing that the members of the gang had not planned their abduction at the time.