Haiti: The gang that kidnapped a group of 17 American missionaries in Haiti has asked for a $17 million ransom in exchange for their release.
Haitian Justice Minister – Liszt Quitel informed the sources that the abductors have demanded a total of – $17 million for the group’s release and that they were being held in a location outside the suburb.
They were kidnapped by the powerful “400 Mawozo” gang on Saturday after the missionaries visited an orphanage in – Croix-des-Bouquets, a northeast suburb of the capital Port-au-Prince, over the weekend.
Among the abducted group, there are five men, seven women and five children.
Justice Minister noted that the kidnappers first called Christian Aid Ministries’ staff in Haiti at 4:53 pm on Saturday, stating their ransom demands at the time of the call. Several calls between the abductors and the missionary group have taken place since then.
Both the Haitian police negotiators and the FBI are advising the missionary group on how to continue, and that talks are ongoing. FBI agents are on the ground in – Haiti helping with the investigation but are not leading the talks, nor have they spoken directly with the kidnappers, he noted.
An FBI spokesperson asserted that “The FBI is a part of coordinated US government effort to get the – Americans involved to safety. Due to operational considerations, no further information is available at this time”.
“The gang has the locations where they usually keep their hostages so that they can feel the hostages are safe. They feel comfortable keeping them there,” the Justice Minister added.
He added that the authorities had warned the kidnappers about not harming the hostages. As per the sources, the hostages currently are safe.
Dan Hooley, a former field director for – Christian Aid Ministries in the Caribbean island, stated that all of the 17 kidnapped missionaries are believed to have been in a one vehicle & that some were able to contact the local director of the organisation before they were taken.
“A couple of people right away messaged the director & told him what was going on. While one of them was able to drop a pin, and that is the last thing that the organization heard until the kidnappers contacted them later in the day,” Hooley added.