Missionaries Kidnapped by Haitian Gang

Nuns+and+other+missionaries+are+easy+targets+for+kidnapping+in+Haiti

Drawing by Lorenzo Arce

Nuns and other missionaries are easy targets for kidnapping in Haiti

Authorities from Haiti and the United States are scrambling to save a group of missionaries and their families. This is just the latest tragedy that has rocked the island nation in recent times. 

 Kidnapped by 400 Mawozo gang members were 17 American and Canadian priests, nuns, and children. The gang is among the worst perpetrators of mass kidnappings that have plagued Haiti this year. According to The Washington Post, they ask for as much as a million dollars per hostage and usually target foreigners and children. At times, they kidnap whole buses full of people at once.

400 Mawozo, Creole for the 400 Simpletons, was behind the kidnapping of French missionaries in April. They also pillaged an orphanage in Port-au-Prince. They climbed the barbed wired fence and killed a security guard. Then, the gang members spent two hours robbing and raping their way through the fenced-in compound. 

The spike in kidnappings is a result of multiple natural disasters and chaos following the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. Consequently, Moïse’s death left a massive power vacuum that was filled by gangs, corrupt politicians, and militias. Many join gangs out of desperation and some are forced into them bu other members by threat of violence. The outgunned and demoralized Haitian military has retreated from many cities. The gangs then take control.

 Haitians are facing mass deportations in the United States and Central America. Many have been alway from the island for over 10 years and have no where to go.

The Haitian government has been reluctant to take action against the kidnappings and other turmoil engulfing its half of Hispaniola. They have pleaded to the United States to send assistance for months; however,military intervention is unlikely.

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