Authorities in Haiti have now identified the group responsible for kidnapping 17 Christian missionaries in the Caribbean last Saturday.
Haitian police inspector Frantz Champagne told the Associated Press that the 400 Mawazoo gang is behind the abduction of the 17 missionaries (16 Americans and 1 Canadian) from the Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries.
"The group of sixteen U.S citizens and one Canadian citizen includes five men, seven women, and five children," Christian Aid Ministries said in a Sunday statement. "Join us in praying for those who are being held hostage, the kidnappers, and the families, friends, and churches of those affected."
As reported by the Wall Street Journal, Justice Minister Liszt Quitel said the gang is seeking $1 million per person in order to secure their release.
Wilson Joseph, the apparent leader of the 400 Mawozo gang, was the center of a wanted-poster campaign launched by Haitian police in 2020. He currently faces charges of murder, kidnapping, auto theft and hijacking trucks.
According to The Christian Post, Joseph goes by the nickname "Lanmò Sanjou," which means "death doesn't know which day it's coming."
The group's reported second-in-command, Joly "Yonyon" Germine, is currently in jail, and Haitian authorities are trying to negotiate with him.
Gédéon Jean, director of the Center for Analysis and Research in Human Rights in Port-au-Prince, told The Washington Post that the gang is responsible for 80 percent of the abductions that took place in the country between June and September.
As Christian Headlines previously reported, the missionaries were abducted on Saturday while traveling to Titanyen after visiting an orphanage in the Croix des Bouquets area.
In April, the gang also kidnapped five priests and two nuns. They were later released.
Throughout the year, Haiti has seen a surge in crime and kidnappings as the country continues to rebound from the assassination of Haitian President Jouvenal Moïse in July and a 7.2-magnitude earthquake that killed more than 2,200 people in August.
Photo courtesy: Reynaldo Mirault/Unsplash
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.