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The 400 Mawozo gang kidnapped 16 Americans and 1 Canadian missionaries in Haiti. The gang is now demanding KES 1.8 billion as ransom in order to release the missionaries.


The Mawozo gang is now demanding $1 million for each of the kidnapped missionaries to release them. The missionaries were kidnapped on Saturday after their visit to an orphanage in Croix-des-Bouquests located towards the northeast suburb of Port-au-Prince.


Liszt Quitel, Justice Minister in Haiti, told CNN that the kidnappers are demanding $17 million which is approximately KES 1.8 billion for 400 Mawozo to release the missionaries.  The missionaries are from Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries.



The kidnappers called Christian Aid Ministries in Haiti at 4:53 p.m. on Saturday and demanded ransom. Since then, numerous calls have taken place between the missionary group and the kidnappers.


The FBI and Haitian police negotiators are advising the missionary group on how to move on and the negotiations are going on. FBI agents are on the ground in Haiti conducting investigations and negotiations but they have not spoken directly with the leaders of 400 Mawozo.


“The FBI is part of a coordinated US government effort to get the Americans involved to safety. Due to operational considerations, no further information is available at this time,” an FBI spokesperson told CNN.


“The gang has locations where they usually keep their hostages so that they can feel the hostages are safe. They feel comfortable keeping them there,” Quitel told CNN.


“The kidnappers have been warned about harming the hostages and what may be the consequences for them [if that were to happen]. But they are not swayed by those warnings,” said Quitel


“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 (the organization) heard until the kidnappers contacted them later in the day,” Hooley said.


Haiti has witnessed increased political instability, civil unrest, lack of quality healthcare and severe poverty and now kidnappings and gang violence.


“The welfare and safety of US citizens abroad is one of the highest priorities of the Department of State. We have been in regular contact with senior Haitian authorities and will continue to work with them and inter-agency partners,” a State Department spokesperson stated on Monday.


The strength of 400 Mawozo has been on the rise for the last three years. The group is made up of over 150 members and has taken full control of Criox des Bouquets according to security sources in Haiti.


The 400 Mawozo is well know for demanding for ransom after kidnapping people. This year alone they have abducted numerous people. Previously, the gang was known for car theft and known their attention has shifted towards kidnapping of large groups of people. This is what is now known as “collective” kidnappings of large groups of victims from buses and cars.


Kidnapping has increased 300 percent this year alone. Out of the 628 people kidnapped, 29 were foreigners. The average ransom demand by the 400 Mawozo is $20,000. This means that the missionaries might have been aware of the risks in which they were in.


“These are very dedicated people, people that have risked their lives, they knew the dangers that they were in, or at least were aware of what could happen, I’m sure,” he said.


The Christian Aid Ministries in Haiti wrote a blog article in 2020 and described the risks they were facing while working in the country. They stated that their home base in Titanyen – north of Port-au-Prince, their members were being threatened by a local gang.


“With all the political uncertainty in Haiti, gangs have taken over. Gangs fighting each other breaks the calm nights with rapid gun fire,” the blog read in part.


However, they did not name the gang which was threatening them. The blog was founded by two missionaries who had lived and worked in Haiti for years.


“After much dialogue, they agreed to lay down their gang mentality and try to find a way to help out the community, instead of terrorizing it. Soon they agreed to work on rebuilding a road that goes through town,” the missionary blogger wrote.


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