DETROIT – A gang that kidnapped 17 members of a US based missionary group demanded $1 million ransom per person, a Haitian official said Tuesday.
Five of those missionaries are from western Michigan and belong to the Hart Dunkard Brethren Church.
The minister spoke to The Detroit News saying a mother and at least four of her young kids were among those kidnapped.
A close knit community of faith in Hart, Michigan has been holding special prayer meetings since a group of missionaries was kidnapped in Haiti. Five members worship at Hart Dunkard Brethren Church.
A mother and four children, the youngest is eight months, the siblings are six, 13 and 15.
Minister Ron Marks told The Detroit News, ”Our primary focus is on God and his providence to bring us through this.”
Sixteen Americans and one Canadian were kidnapped Saturday by a gang after leaving an orphanage just outside Port-au-Prince.
The missionaries were sponsored by Christian Aid Ministries based in Ohio.
Detroit’s Mitch Albom was at his orphanage Have Faith Haiti when the group was abducted at gunpoint.
“I’m familiar with that operation and it’s similar to what many people like myself who come down here are trying to take care of for children. Trying to help house, feed them, love them and take care of them, basic needs,” he said.
The government effectively collapsed after Haiti’s president was assassinated.
The latest abduction part of an alarming spike in lawlessness. The gang is now demanding $17 million for their safe return.
“It’s a sad day for West Michigan. My office is working in cooperation and consultation with the State Department and the Biden Administration to secure the safe return of the missionaries and their family members,” said Rep. Bill Huizenga of Michigan’s second congressional district.