Canadian among kidnapped missionaries in Haiti, organization says

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Christian aid ministries said in a statement on their website that a Canadian was among 17 missionaries allegedly kidnapped in Haiti on Saturday.

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The US-based mission organization said on Sunday that the group is believed to include five children.

The organization said they were returning from a trip to help build an orphanage.

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“We request immediate prayers for the group of Christian Aid Ministry workers who were abducted,” the organization said in its statement. “We are seeking God’s direction for a solution, and the authorities are looking for ways to help.”

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The organization did not name any of the abducted people, including Canada.

Global Affairs Canada said on Sunday it was aware of media reports that a Canadian national had been kidnapped in Haiti.

“Canadian government officials in Haiti are working with local authorities,” Global Affairs said in an emailed statement.

“The Government of Canada’s first priority is always the safety and security of its citizens. Due to the provisions of the Privacy Act, no further information can be disclosed.”

Haitian Police Inspector Frantz Champagne says the 400 Mavozo gang kidnapped the group in Ganthier, east of the capital Port-au-Prince.

Officials say the gang, whose name roughly translates to 400 “inexperienced men”, controlled the Croix-des-Bouquets region which includes Ganthier.

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Haiti is once again struggling with a spike in gang-related kidnappings that eased in recent months following the deadly shooting of President Jovenel Moise in July and a 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck its southwest region in August in which more than 2,200 people were killed.

A UN report said 328 kidnappings were reported in Haiti in the first eight months of this year, compared to 234 in 2020.

Officials say the ransom demanded by the gangs ranges from a few hundred dollars to more than a million dollars.

Victims of the kidnapping include school children, doctors, police officers and passengers’ buses. In April, a gang kidnapped five priests and two nuns, leading to protests.

Haiti is now preparing for more protests on Monday to address the lack of security in the poor country.

With files from the Associated Press

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