One of the 17 missionaries kidnapped in Haiti on Saturday sent a harrowing cry for help on WhatsApp as the group of 16 Americans and one Canadian were being abducted, according to a report.
“Please pray for us!! We are being held hostage, they kidnapped our driver. Pray pray pray. We don’t know where they are taking us,” group message said, according to a report in the Washington Post.
The terrifying message came as the group — which includes adult missionaries as well as their children — was being taken from a bus bound for the airport in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, according to reports.
Haiti has faced upheaval since President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated by gunmen in his home in July, a case that has yet to be solved by local law enforcement.
The missionary group was kidnapped by the “400 Mawozo” gang, which controls the town where the missionaries were abducted, and is known both for targeting religious groups and mass kidnappings, the Washington Post said.
Gangs have been accused of kidnapping schoolchildren, doctors, police officers, busloads of passengers and others as they grow more powerful. In April, 400 Mawozo kidnapped five priests and two nuns, a move that prompted a three-day protest.
At least 328 kidnapping victims were reported to Haiti’s National Police in the first eight months of 2021, compared with a total of 234 for all of 2020, according to a report issued last month by the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti known as BINUH.
With Post wires