By Christine Rousselle
The gang responsible for the kidnapping of 17 missionaries in Haiti is demanding a $17 million ransom for their safe release, as the organization behind their trip is requesting prayers for their safety.
“Many people, including CAM management and Haitian and U.S. authorities, are working diligently to bring our loved ones home safely,” said an update posted on the Christian Aid Ministries website on Tuesday, Oct, 19. Christian Aid Ministries is the Ohio-based organization that organized the trip.
“Today, we again commit our workers to God’s care,” said the statement, which added that the adults who were kidnapped are between the ages of 18 to 48, and that the kidnapped children range in age from eight months to 15 years.
“Pray that our workers could respond to hatred with Jesus’ love, overcome the spirit of fear with faith, and face violence with a genuine desire to bless their oppressors,” they said.
The kidnapped missionaries include six women, six men, and five children. All but one are U.S. citizens; the other is a citizen of Canada.
Per CNN and the Associated Press, the kidnappers, who are part of the gang 400 Mawozo, have been in contact with Christian Aid Ministries. They first made their ransom demand on Saturday, the same day as the kidnapping.
Haiti’s Justice Minister Liszt Quitel told news outlets that the Haitian police, as well as the FBI, are providing assistance with the negotiations and with the group of missionaries. The FBI has not spoken to the kidnappers directly, however, but they are on the ground in Haiti.
The missionaries were based in the town of Titanyen, and were returning from building an orphanage in Fond Parisien at the time of their kidnapping.
In addition to requesting prayers for the kidnapped, Christian Aid Ministries is asking for people to pray for the civil authorities who are working on rescuing the group.
“This group of workers has been committed to minister throughout poverty-stricken Haiti. Their heart-felt desire is to share the love of Jesus,” they said. “Before the kidnapping, their work throughout Haiti included supporting thousands of needy school children, distributing Bibles and Christian literature, supplying medicines for numerous clinics, teaching Haitian pastors, and providing food for the elderly and vulnerable.”
“In recent months, they were actively involved in coordinating a rebuilding project for those who lost their homes in the August 2021 earthquake,” said Tuesday’s statement. “When kidnapped, the group was returning from a visit to an orphanage that receives support from Christian Aid Ministries.”
The 400 Mawozo gang responsible for the most recent kidnapping is the same criminal gang behind the kidnapping of Catholic priests and religious in April. All of those kidnapped in April were released within several weeks; ransom was paid for just two of the kidnapped priests, according to Quitel.
The website of Christian Aid Ministries states that it serves as a “channel for Amish, Mennonite, and other conservative Anabaptist groups and individuals” to provide aid to those in need around the world.
It supports aid and anti-poverty efforts in countries such as Haiti and Kazakhstan, but also promotes billboard evangelism in the United States and advertises assistance for any conscientious objectors in the event of a U.S military draft.