MILLERSBURG, Ohio (NewsNation Now) — The search continues for 16 Americans and one Canadian who were kidnapped in Haiti. A Haitian gang is demanding a $17 million ransom as American officials work with Haitian authorities to try to secure the hostages’ release.
Police say members of the Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries were abducted Saturday, Oct. 16, by the 400 Mawozo gang. Christian Aid Ministries has not answered its phone or doors since the disappearance.
A total of five children, seven women and five men were taken. The organization said they were on a trip to visit an orphanage.
“Join us in praying for those who are being held hostage, the kidnappers and the families, friends and churches of those affected,” Christian Aid Ministries said in a statement. “As an organization, we commit this situation to God and trust him to see us through.”
The 400 Mawozo gang kidnapped the group in Ganthier, a community that lies east of the capital of Port-au-Prince. The gang, whose name roughly translates to 400 “inexperienced men,” controls the Croix-des-Bouquets area that includes Ganthier, where they carry out kidnappings and carjackings and extort business owners, according to authorities.
Since the abduction, the United States has issued a travel advisory warning Americans not to travel to Haiti because of gang and criminal activity.