As many as 17 Christian missionaries from the US were kidnapped in Haiti by a gang, officials say

A gang member, wearing a balaclava and holding a gun, poses for a photo in the Portail Leogane neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, Haiti
A gang member, wearing a balaclava and holding a gun, poses for a photo in the Portail Leogane neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021. Rodrigo Abd/Associated Press
  • Up to 17 missionaries and their families, including women and kids, were kidnapped, officials said.
  • The missionaries were leaving an orphanage in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, when a gang abducted them.
  • Haiti is seeing a surge in gang violence, with gangs controlling half of Port-au-Prince, NYT reported.

Officials said as many as 17 Christian missionaries from the US were kidnapped Saturday by a gang in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, The New York Times reported.

Haitian security officials told The Times the missionaries and their families, including women and children, were taken after leaving an orphanage by bus in the capital. They were on their way to the airport to drop off some members before heading to another location in Haiti.

Officials did not provide many details about the kidnapping, but it comes as Haiti deals with a surge in gang violence that has been exacerbated by other recent events.

In August, the Caribbean nation was hit by a devastating earthquake that killed more than 2,200 people. Meanwhile, Haiti was still recovering from the destruction caused by the 2010 earthquake that killed at least 220,000 people.

The latest earthquake struck the country less than two months after the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse in July.

The United Nations expressed concern the assassination could fuel the already-rising gang violence in the country, Insider’s Sarah Al-Arshani reported.

As of Saturday, about half of Port-au-Prince was controlled by gangs, The Times reported. Gang violence has forced around 19,000 Haitians from there homes, according to a UN report.