When 17 Christian missionaries were kidnapped last month outside Port-au-Prince, in Haiti, the world looked on in horror and feared the worst.
The 400 Mawozo gang kidnapped the 16 Americans and one Canadian on Oct. 16 with the leader threatening to kill those abducted if the gang’s demand of a $1 million ransom per person, was not met.
“The demand was made to the country chief of the Christian Aid Ministries — they asked for $1 million per person,” Justice Minister Liszt Quitel told The New York Times.
“Often these gangs know these demands cannot be met and they will consider a counteroffer from the families, and the negotiations can take a couple of days sometimes, or a couple of weeks.”
The group included five children aged 15, 14, 6, 3, and 8 months, and it’s thought the Haitian driver of the bus the missionaries were traveling in when they were kidnapped was also taken.
The group was returning from a trip to an orphanage in Haiti when they were kidnapped by the 400 Mawozo gang that is well-known for killing, kidnapping, and extortion, according to NPR.
Now the U.S. government has seen proof that at least some members of the group are alive, according to a senior Biden administration official, as reported by Reuters.
The official, who declined to be named, did not give further details.
U.S. officials are leading the efforts to safely retrieve the missionaries, predominantly made up of Amish, Mennonite, and other Anabaptist Christians, who were on a trip organized by the Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries.
Wilson Joseph, who is believed to be the leader of the gang, also issued a stern threat: “I swear by thunder that if I don’t get what I’m asking for, I will put a bullet in the heads of these Americans.”
The Christian Aid Ministries (CAM) is not giving up on the group and continues to remain vigilant.
“It is now the 24th day of this crisis, and our workers and loved ones are still being held hostage in Haiti,” CAM posted on its website.
“We, along with government authorities, continue to work hard to bring them home safely. This is our heartfelt desire, but we want to surrender to God’s plan and timing.
“The families of the hostages continue to face long days of waiting for news about their loved ones. The hostages no doubt face long days as well, wondering when they might be released.
“Your prayers have been a lifeline of hope and encouragement for the families, for us at CAM, and no doubt for the hostages during the past several weeks. Keep praying!”
CAM continues to ask for prayers and has also requested encouraging messages for the families of those who have been kidnapped.
Please share so more people can pray for the safe return of this group.