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Haitian gang demands $17 million for Americans’ release

Children play in empty streets during the worker security strike in Haiti. Associated Press/Photo by Matias Delacroix

Haitian gang demands $17 million for Americans’ release

Justice Minister Liszt Quitel confirmed the 400 Mawozo group, a gang notorious for killings and extortion, is holding 16 Americans and one Canadian hostage for a $1 million ransom each. Quitel told The Wall Street Journal the gang first called Christian Aid Ministries staff on Saturday, shortly after it kidnapped the missionaries during an orphanage visit in a Port-au-Prince suburb. Haitian police negotiators and FBI agents are advising staff members on ongoing calls with the group. Quitel said the FBI and other U.S. officials are helping them hunt down the abductors and prisoners but have not spoken directly with 400 Mawozo.

Any news on the missionaries? Quitel said authorities believe the gang is holding the missionaries in a safe house just outside the suburb where they were taken. Police and U.S. officials have warned the 400 Mawozo not to harm any of the hostages, who include five children between the ages of 8 months and 15. Workers across the country are still on strike, demanding the police force bolster security. In the village of Titanyen north of Port-au-Prince, dozens of peaceful protesters who said the missionaries helped to build roads and schools demanded their release on Tuesday.

Dig deeper: Read Onize Ohikere’s report on aid groups flocking to Haiti after the deadly August earthquake.

Carolina Lumetta

Carolina is a reporter for WORLD Digital. She is a World Journalism Institute and Wheaton College graduate. She resides in Harrisburg, Pa.



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Akemi McConnaughey

Though a poor country Haiti is, violence, hate, murder and theft are never the way to accumulate wealth. Justice is never bullied.


We should deliver the funds electronically. Only after all the hostages are freed. And make it $17 million Zimbabwe dollars.