According to multiple news outlets, a group of sixteen Americans and one Canadian visited an orphanage in Croix des Bouquets, Port-au-Prince on Saturday (Oct. 16) and were on their way to Titanyen when members of the 400 Mawozo gang reportedly snatched the group, which consisted of seven women, five men and five children.
“Please pray for us,” one American man reportedly wrote in a WhatsApp group, according to The Washington Post. “We are being held hostage, they kidnapped our driver. Pray pray pray. We don’t know where they are taking us.”
Per CNN, members of the group were also able to contact the higher ups at the Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries amid the kidnapping. “A couple of fellows right away messaged the director and told him what was going on. And one of them was able to drop a pin, and that’s the last thing heard until the kidnappers contacted them later in the day,” said Dan Hooley, the organization’s former field director.
In a statement released on Sunday (Oct. 17), Christian Aid Ministries asked followers to send prayers up to those who were abducted. “Join us in praying for those who are being held hostage, the kidnappers, and the families, friends and churches of those affected,” the statement read. “We are seeking God’s direction for a resolution, and authorities are seeking ways to help.”
A team of FBI agents has since been sent to Haiti to work with the state department in securing the release of the missionaries, whose current location is not known, a source close to the Biden administration told CNN. Per a Global Affairs Canada spokeswoman, officials in Canada are also working with local authorities to learn more about the tragic incident.