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Reports: Haitian Kidnappers Demand $17 Million For Holmes County Hostages

Children walk on the courtyard of the Maison La Providence de Dieu orphanage it Ganthier, Croix-des-Bouquets, Haiti, Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021, where a gang abducted 17 missionaries from a U.S.-based organization. The 400 Mawozo gang, notorious for brazen kidnappings and killings took the group of 16 U.S. citizens and one Canadian, after a trip to visit the orphanage.
Joseph Odelyn
/
AP
Children walk on the courtyard of the Maison La Providence de Dieu orphanage it Ganthier, Croix-des-Bouquets, Haiti, Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021, where a gang abducted 17 missionaries from a U.S.-based organization. The 400 Mawozo gang, notorious for brazen kidnappings and killings took the group of 16 U.S. citizens and one Canadian, after a trip to visit the orphanage.

The Haitian gang accused of kidnapping 17 people connected to a Holmes County-based religious organization is reportedly demanding $1 million per person in ransom money.

The New York Times and CNN both quote Haitian Justice Minister Liszt Quitel as saying gang leaders want $17 million for the group abducted Saturday.

“The demand was made to the country chief of the Christian Aid Ministries — they asked for $1 million per person,” Quitel told the Times.

Police in Haiti say the gang that perpetrated the kidnappings, known as 400 Mawozo, is known for such extortions in a country that’s seen kidnappings skyrocket this year amid political instability.

The 12 adults and five children affiliated with Christian Aid Ministries, headquartered in Millersburg, were reportedly headed back to their commune after visiting an orphanage near east of the capital Port-au-Prince when they were taken hostage. Sixteen of those kidnapped are American citizens, along with one Canadian.

A statement from the missionary group’s website says they’re working with American and Haitian authorities, and remain in "earnest prayer."

"Join us in prayer that God’s grace would sustain the men, women, and children who are being held hostage. In a world where violence and force are seen as the solution to problems, we believe in God’s call to Christians to “…not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21)," the statement also says.

Marcus Yoder, the executive director of the Amish and Mennonite Heritage Center in Millersburg, said the community is deeply concerned and praying for the safe return of the workers in Haiti.

“Our Amish and Mennonite world is deeply interconnected, and so this affects us all,” Yoder told WOSU on Monday.