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Brutal gang puts £12m bounty on heads of kidnapped Christian missionaries
October 20, 2021
A gang has put a $1m (£725k) price tag on each of 17 Christian missionaries kidnapped in Haiti.
The 400 Mawozo gang, who seized the 16 Americans and one Canadian on Saturday, have made the demand for $17m (£12.3m) in what is just the latest in a wave of kidnappings as the impoverished Caribbean country descends into chaos.
FBI agents have flown in to help the Haitian police secure the release of the missionaries, reports CNN, although they are not leading the negotiations and have not spoken to the gang directly.
The victims include a baby and four other children, as well as five men and seven women.
They were snatched after visiting an orphanage north-east of the capital Port-au-Prince.
The group are part of Christian Aid Ministries, based in Ohio, which said the children were aged 15, 13, six, three and eight months.
The adults are aged between 18 and 48. They had been working on a rebuilding project for people who’d lost their homes in the August earthquake.
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Justice minister Liszt Quitel told CNN that both local negotiators and the FBI were advising Christian Aid Ministries on how to proceed, and they were in negotiations with the kidnappers.
“The gang has locations where they usually keep their hostages so that they can feel the hostages are safe. They feel comfortable keeping them there,” Quitel told CNN.
“The kidnappers have been warned about harming the hostages and what may be the consequences for them [if that were to happen]. But they are not swayed by those warnings.”
Haiti’s spiral into lawlessness comes as political instability and little-to-no healthcare has led to growing civil unrest across the country.