Please pray for us!! We are being held hostage: About 17 American missionaries were kidnapped in Haiti


Please pray for us!! We are being held hostage: About 17 American missionaries and their children were kidnapped by armed gang members in Haiti. At the same time, one of them sent a secret WhatsApp message during the kidnapping.

400 Mauzu gangs kidnaped a group of Christian missionaries and their family members on Saturday in La Tremblay of Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Officials say the group - which includes 16 Americans, Canadians, and several children - were abducted after leaving an orphanage in Croix-des-Bouquet.

The missionaries were kidnapped from a bus heading to the airport.

One of the kidnappers sent an audio message via WhatsApp, in which he said: Please pray for us!! We are being held, hostage. We don't know where they are taking us."

The US government is aware of the kidnapping reports, and officials at the US Embassy are said to be "working to see what can be done."

Rising gang violence has displaced thousands and hampered economic activity in the poorest country in the Americas.

Violence escalated after the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in July.

On Saturday, Christian missionaries and their families were kidnapped by gang members in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince.

A New York Times report, citing security officials from the crisis-hit Caribbean nation, said the missionaries were snatched from a bus heading to the airport to drop off some of the group's members before they headed to another destination in Haiti.

The Miami Herald reported that the missionaries - including 16 Americans, a Canadian citizen, and several children - had been kidnapped in La Tremblay by what they were believed to be members of the Mauzu 400 gang.

A person familiar with the situation claims that one of the kidnapped Americans posted a cry for help in a WhatsApp group while the kidnapping was taking place.

Please pray for us!! We are hostages; they kidnapped our driver. Pray, pray, pray. "We don't know where they will take us," the hijacker said.

The US government has learned of the kidnapping reports, and US embassy officials are looking into the situation.

Meanwhile, thousands of Haitian immigrants have fled the country, now ruled by gangs, and came to the United States last month.

Security officials in Haiti say the group, including children, was kidnapped as they were leaving an orphanage. There can be up to 100 gangs in Port-au-Prince; Nobody has an exact count, and loyalties are often violently fluid.

The missionaries were on their way home from building an orphanage in the Croix des Bouquets when they were kidnapped at La Tremblay.

Pierre Esperance, director of the National Network for the Defense of Human Rights in Haiti, told the Washington Post that he was informed of the kidnapping on Saturday by officials in Haiti.

A US State Department spokesman said the government was aware of the reports of the kidnapping.

"The well-being and safety of American citizens abroad are of the highest priority for the State Department," the spokeswoman said, declining to comment further.

Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries, whose employees returned to the organization's base in Haiti in 2020 after going for nearly nine months amid political turmoil, sent an audio message identified as a 'prayer alert' to various religious missions.

The missionaries were traveling from the Croix-de-Bouquet region, building an orphanage, to Port-au-Prince airport when they were kidnapped in La Tremblay.

This is a prayer alert. Pray that the gang members repent," the voice in the recording said.

The prayer message also states that the mission's field director is working with the US embassy. The family of the field director and another unidentified person stayed at the ministry's headquarters while everyone visiting the orphanage was kidnapped.

The letter said the US embassy was working to see what could be done. "Pray that the gang members will repent and believe in Jesus Christ."

It was not clear whether the abductees belonged to Christian aid ministries.

A gang member in Haiti was filmed earlier this year. There has been a rise in kidnappings, with the country facing a massive amount of instability following the assassination of its president and an earthquake earlier this year.

Haiti is again struggling with an escalation of gang-related kidnappings that waned after President Jovenel Moise was fatally shot in his private home on July 7, following a 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck southwest Haiti in August killed more than 2,200 people.

The country, which has the highest kidnapping rate per capita globally, has seen a sixfold rise in kidnappings compared to the same period last year.

The kidnappers kidnapped many individuals, including doctors going to work, preachers giving speeches, buses loaded with passing people, police officers on patrol, and more.

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