Caribbean country’s security forces has confirmed The 400 Mawozo gang as the group behind the kidnapping of 17 American and Canadian missionaries over the weekend

The group include 16 Americans and 1 Canadian missionary

abducted on Saturday after they made an orphanage visit in Croix des Bouquets,

a suburb northeast of the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince.

As they were traveling from the orphanage towards Titanyen, north of Port-au-Prince, gang members stopped the vehicle at gunpoint.

The 400 Mawozo gang has been growing in strength for the past three years invadng on areas in Croix des Bouquets,

A source in Haiti’s security forces told CNN on Sunday that the gang is numbering up to 150 members.

“Kidnapping for ransom is a hallmark activity of the gang”.

“They have abducted dozens of people this year alone, including foreign nationals, and

much of the rise in kidnappings in Haiti is due to the 400 Mawozo”, he said.

Clearly, The Gang members engage in near daily confrontations with Haitian police and even tax local businesses.

According to CARDH, the majority of the gang’s victims are Haitian citizens and kidnappings have surged in Haiti this year — with a nearly 300% increase since July.

A Sunday vigil held in a town park in Haiti to pray for the missionaries

Pastors from several area churches came together to  sing and pray for the safety of the missionaries.

Christian Aid Ministries located on Ohio 39 in Berlin, Ohio is seen here on Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021. (AP Photo/Tom E. Puskar)

An Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries on Sunday confirming the kidnap of the missionaries

spoke that the abducted are made up of five men, seven women and five children.

Among those kidnapped were four children and one of their parents from a family in Hart, a town near Lake Michigan , their pastor told The Detroit News.

The youngest from the family is under 10.

They arrived in Haiti earlier this month, he said.

Linda Dodge confirms that her church congregation is still in shock by the kidnappings.

“The best thing we could hope for is that this family will shine so bright for Jesus among their captors, that they will terrify the captors out of doing anything to them at all,” Dodge said. “That that love will shine through so much, that they are just afraid to touch them in any way.”

A spokesman for Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries has said the families of those kidnapped are from Amish, Mennonite and other conservative Anabaptist communities in Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Oregon and Ontario, Canada.

 A Haitian human rights group confirmed that their driver also was kidnapped.

Currently, the FBI is helping Haitian authorities recover the 16 Americans and one Canadian.

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