(AbsoluteNews.com) – Haiti is home to the 400 Mawozo Gang, known for several kidnappings, extortions, and carjackings in the country’s Croix-des-Bouquets area. In October, the group kidnapped 17 missionaries, 16 American and 1 Canadian, who were visiting an orphanage near Port-au-Prince. The volunteer group from Christian Aid Ministries included 5 children under the age of 15 who were previously released, leaving 12 others still in captivity. On December 16, the Haitian gang finally released the remaining hostages, unharmed. The Ohio ministry reacted to the news by “praising God” for their return home.
Although the criminal group demanded $17 million for the release of the kidnapped victims, it’s unknown whether anyone paid the ransom.
#UPDATE The remaining 12 of 17 North Americans kidnapped in Haiti in October have been freed, police said Thursday, after weeks of negotiations with the "400 Mawozo" criminal gang https://t.co/V06cjHoRxv pic.twitter.com/2EcJIIRNNI
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) December 16, 2021
Reports from the Haitian nonprofit Center of Analysis and Research in Human Rights (CARDH) show kidnappings in the area increased by about 300% from July to September. The average ransom for such abductions reportedly runs around $20,000, so the $17 million demand was highly unusual.
The CARDH suspects the deadly August earthquake, devastating flooding, and the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse in July may be responsible for the uptick in local crimes.
Authorities also blame the 400 Mawozo Group for the kidnapping of five priests and two nuns in April around the same area.
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