Gang Demands $17M for Return of Kidnapped Missionaries in Haiti

The kidnappers of the 17 missionaries in Haiti last Saturday have demanded the sum of $17M ransom. Haiti’s Justice Minister, Liszt Quitel, revealed on Tuesday. 

"The demand was made to the country chief of the Christian Aid Ministries — they asked for $1 million per person. 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," Quitel told The New York Times in a phone interview.

Some of the victims were said to be members of Hart Dunkard Brethren Church in Michigan headed by Minister Ron Marks. In a press briefing on Monday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a press briefing Monday that while she could not expose the identities of the missionaries because it may affect their safety. However, the FBI and the State Department and the FBI are working together to "bring these individuals home safely."

"The President has been briefed and is receiving regular updates on what the State Department and the FBI are doing to bring these individuals home safely," Psaki said.

"The FBI is part of a coordinated U.S. government effort to get the U.S. citizens involved to safety. Due to operational considerations, we're not going to go into too much detail on that but can confirm their engagement. And the U.S. embassy in Port-au-Prince is coordinating with local authorities and providing assistance to the families to resolve the situation," she added.

According to the Christian Aid Ministries based in Ohio, the kidnapped missionaries, who were working with the organization before the incident, are sixteen Americans and one Canadian. The kidnap gang has been operating for some months in the country where they kidnap, extort, and kill their victims.

The organization has urged the global community to pray for the safe release of the missionaries. 

"We are entering the third day since seventeen of our workers were kidnapped by a gang in Haiti. The media has carried this situation across the globe. Civil authorities in Haiti and the United States are aware of what has happened and are offering assistance. We continue to monitor the situation closely and are in earnest prayer," the organization said. 

"We greatly appreciate the prayers of believers around the world, including our many Amish and Mennonite supporters. The Bible says, 'The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much' (James 5:16). Join us in prayer that God's grace would sustain the men, women, and children who are being held hostage.

"The kidnappers, like all people, are created in the image of God and can be changed if they turn to Him. While we desire the safe release of our workers, we also desire that the kidnappers be transformed by the love of Jesus, the only true source of peace, joy, and forgiveness," they added.

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