Seventeen U.S. missionaries, including children, have been abducted in Haiti

According to media reports, the group was leaving an orphanage in Port-au-Prince.

According to media reports, 17 Christian missionaries from the United States, including children, were abducted by gang members in the Haitian capital.

The missionaries were abducted from a bus on Saturday, the New York Times reported, citing security officials in Port-au-Prince.

The team was leaving an orphanage and heading to the airport to release some of its members, the report said.

The group was captured by an armed group that has been involved in robberies and kidnappings in the border areas of Port-au-Prince and the Dominican Republic for months, the news agency AFP quoted a security source as saying.

The Associated Press reports that U.S.-based Christian Aid ministries have sent messages to various religious missions saying the kidnapped group is building an orphanage in Haiti.

“This is a special prayer warning,” the AP said in a one-minute message. “Pray that gang members may repent.”

The message added that the mission’s field director was working with the U.S. embassy, ​​and that the field director’s family and another unidentified person were stationed at the mission’s base, while everyone else who went to the orphanage was abducted.

Any other details were immediately available.

A U.S. government spokesman said they were aware of reports of abductions.

“The welfare and safety of U.S. citizens abroad is one of the State Department’s highest priorities,” the spokesman declined to comment further.

Haiti is once again battling a growing battle of gang-related kidnappings that erupted after President Jovenal Moises was fatally shot at his private residence on July 7 and after a 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck southwestern Haiti in August and killed more than 2,200 people.

Authorities say the gangs demanded ransoms ranging from thousands of dollars to more than মিল 10 million.

Last month, a deacon was killed in front of a church in Port-au-Prince and his wife was abducted.

According to the Center for Analysis and Research in Human Rights, a Haitian-based civil society group, more than 60,000 abductions were recorded in the first three quarters of 2021, up from 211 in the same period last year.

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