(TargetLiberty.org) – US officials have flown to Haiti to help secure the release of 17 missionaries who were kidnapped there on Saturday morning. Haiti is facing an epidemic of abductions for ransom, and Americans are tempting targets for local criminals.
From NBC's Mike Kosnar: A source close to the administration confirms that a team of FBI agents landed in Haiti Sunday to assist the State Department in securing the release of the seventeen missionaries from the United States and Canada who were kidnapped Saturday.
— Julia E. Ainsley (@JuliaEAinsley) October 18, 2021
On October 16, a group of US and Canadian missionaries, including seven children, were abducted in a suburb of the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince. The kidnappers are believed to be from the 400 Mawozo gang, which has snatched dozens of people in the last few months. Now, the State Department is working with Haitian authorities to get them released.
On Sunday, a State Department spokesman said they were in “regular contact” with senior officials in Port-au-Prince. The next day, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed that the FBI is also involved in what she called “a coordinated US government effort.” It’s believed the FBI has sent hostage negotiators to Haiti to talk to the gang. Reportedly, the kidnappers are asking for $17 million to release the victims.
A general strike hit Port-au-Prince on Monday, as Haitians protest against the rise of crime and disorder over the last few months. The country, the poorest in the western hemisphere, has been hit by a political crisis since President Jovenel Moise was assassinated in July.
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