By Kris Maher, Juan Montes
The original article appears here.
BERLIN, Ohio—The Haitian gang that abducted a group of American and Canadian missionaries is asking for $1 million each for their release, a total of $17 million, a top Haitian official said on Monday.
Justice Minister Liszt Quitel said the FBI and Haitian police are in contact with the kidnappers and seeking the release of the missionaries, abducted last weekend just outside the capital Port-au-Prince by a gang called 400 Mawozo.
Among the missionaries are five children, Mr. Quitel said, one an 8-month baby and the others 3, 6, 14 and 15 years old.
President Biden has been briefed, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday, and the FBI will help Haitian officials investigate the kidnapping and try to negotiate a release.
“The FBI is part of a coordinated U.S. government effort to get the U.S. citizens involved to safety,” she said.
Mr. Quitel said negotiations could take weeks.
“We are trying to get them released without paying any ransom,” said Mr. Quitel. “This is the first course of action. Let’s be honest: When we give them that money, that money is going to be used for more guns and more munitions.”
“That would be the best outcome,” he said.
Mr. Quitel said the missionaries, members of Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries, are held in a safe house right outside Croix-des-Bouquets, the suburb of Port-au-Prince controlled by 400 Mawazo and near where they were kidnapped by heavily armed men around midday on Saturday.
Kidnappings in the impoverished country, including targeting foreigners, have jumped in recent months amid the political chaos after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. Gangs control an increasing swath of the chronically unstable country. Read More