17 Short Term Missionaries Kidnapped in Haiti
As you have probably already heard, a short-term missions team from a nonprofit organization in Ohio was kidnapped by one of Haiti's most powerful gangs the 400 Mawozo Gang. This happened Saturday afternoon, and as of the writing of this blog they have not been released.
The group of short-term missionaries are being held hostage and it is reported that the kidnappers are asking for $17 million in ransom money for their release. The group consists of 6 men, 6 women, and 5 children. Right now the FBI and Haitian government are negotiating with the kidnappers and there are reports that it could take weeks to finish. We are praying hard for their release.
This is a clear escalation of things in Haiti. There have been about 628 reported kidnappings in Haiti (many also go unreported) in 2021 which is a crazy number in itself. In the past, American citizens have been left alone for fear of the American government intervening and the gangs and corrupt officials in Haiti fear this. That fear seems to be gone, and that is not a good thing.
As you know, we have not taken teams down to Haiti since January 2019, and there is a big reason for that. Things have been really insecure and unsafe, and a Level 4 Travel advisory from the state department is not something to take lightly.
It is one thing for a President of a country to be assassinated, it is another thing for an armed militia to enter his house and brutally kill him. It is one thing for an earthquake to do major damage to a third world country, but it is another thing when things are so unstable that supplies and aid could not get to the affected area on roads because armed gangs would rob them.
Kidnappers have created something new in Haiti called "Kidnappings en masse." That means that rather than just kidnapping one person or family, they have moved on to kidnapping entire buses and vans full of people and then asking for an even bigger ransom for each person individually so that they make more money per kidnapping.
In light of the increase in violence, the entire country is being bogged down right now by manifestations in the streets in every major city in Haiti. The population is, quite literally, protesting violence and poor conditions by being violent and creating poor conditions...But what else can they do?
What can we do? Continue to pray.
Pray for the missionaries (and especially the children) who have been kidnapped and are being held for ransom.
Pray for the strikes/protests/riots/manifestations because there is a huge group of people in Haiti who are being oppressed and hurt, and this is the only way they believe their voice can be heard. When you back a person into a corner, all they can do is strike back and that is what is happening right now.
Pray for All Things New. Think about how discouraging it must be for a group of young men and women who are close to starting their adult lives to see their country falling apart.
Pray that GOD would intervene and bring a strong leader to the country.