As Recovery of Kidnapped Missionaries Continues, U.S. Says Haiti Needs Help From World

As the 17 missionaries who were kidnapped in Haiti have yet to return to safety, the U.S. is asking for countries around the world to help assisting the nation, the Associated Press reported.

U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Tuesday that the U.S. and other countries need to step up and give Haiti the kind of investment and support it requires.

"We are looking at every possible option for how to go about doing that," Sullivan said. "But these things operate and have operated in Haiti historically on different timetables, under different circumstances. And so we need to manage this situation as carefully as possible so that at the end of the day, we achieve our objective, which is the safe return of every single one of those [abducted]."

According to Haitian officials, the 400 Mawozo gang, which abducted the missionaries, is demanding a $1 million ransom per person but that it was not clear if that included the five children or only the 12 adults.

U.S. officials have repeated that the government issued a warning in August about the risks of kidnapping in Haiti.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Missionaries in Haiti Kidnapped
As the 17 missionaries who were kidnapped in Haiti have yet to return to safety, the U.S. is asking for countries around the world to help assisting the nation. Above, people kneel outside the Justice Ministry to demand the resignation of Minister Liszt Quitel to protest kidnappings in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on October 26, 2021. Odelyn Joseph/Associated Press

"Occasionally we are asked why our workers were in Haiti," the organization said, adding that they want to share the impact religion has had on their own lives. "We want others to enjoy the joy, peace, and redemption we have experienced."

The statement from Christian Aid Ministries comes as U.S. and Haitian authorities keep working to secure the release of the 12 adults and five children, including an 8-month-old, who were kidnapped October 16 near the capital of Port-au-Prince. A local human rights organization has said that the group's Haitian driver also was kidnapped.

Sullivan said he personally gives U.S. President Joe Biden an update daily on the situation, noting that several law enforcement and hostage recovery specialists are working with the religious organization, the families of the victims and the Haitian government "to try to coordinate and organize a recovery."

On Monday, the religious organization issued a statement pleading with people to not grow weary and to keep praying: "We don't know how God will choose to bring resolution, but we desire that His will be done."

As recovery efforts continue, Haiti's capital on Tuesday was once again paralyzed by a two-day strike in which the streets were largely empty as severe fuel shortages blamed on gangs blocking gas distribution terminals continued.

Jimmy Cherizier, leader of G9 Family and Allies, a federation of gangs considered Haiti's largest and most powerful, held a press conference on Tuesday and said that if Prime Minister Ariel Henry stepped down on Tuesday night, he would reopen blocked roads on Wednesday to allow the flow of goods.