One of the top Haitian officials reported to CNN that 16 American and 1 Canadian missionary, including children were kidnapped by the “400 Mawozo” Haiti gang and they have asked for $1 million ransom against each head to be released safely.

The kidnapping occurred when the group of missionaries was on their way from an orphanage, which is in Croix-des-Bouquets, northeast suburbs of Port-au-Prince.

The incident is not new as there are many such kidnapping incidents are happening due to unrest in the country. Not only the political crisis are one of the reasons for these types of crimes increasing in Haiti, but civil unrest, poverty, and lack of proper healthcare also play their part.

The ransom news was delivered by the Haitian Justice Minister, Liszt Quitel to the CNN outlet. According to him, the demand of the kidnappers is $17 million in total against all the kidnapped missionaries. Moreover, he also added that the kidnapped missionaries are kept outside the suburb area.

As per the reports by Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries, a group of American and Canadian missionaries includes 5 male adults, 7 female adults, and 5 children of whom one is reported to be 8 months, while others are 3,6,13, and 15 respectively. While all the adults are between 18 and 48 years old.

Moreover, Liszt Quitel also reported that currently Haitian police and FBI agents are under negotiations with the gang and are advising them on the next step. However, the FBI has taken a step back to lead the negotiations.

As per a statement by an FBI agent, “The FBI is part of a coordinated US government effort to get the Americans involved to safety. Due to operational considerations, no further information is available at this time.”

Revealing more information regarding the whereabouts of kidnapped missionaries, Quitel said, “The gang has locations where they usually keep their hostages so that they can feel the hostages are safe. They feel comfortable keeping them there. The kidnappers have been warned about harming the hostages and what may be the consequences for them [if that were to happen]. But they are not swayed by those warnings.”

As the group was affiliated with an Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries, a former field director of Haitian Christian Aid Ministries, Dan Hooley was asked about what he knows regarding the matter. He said in a statement, “A couple of fellows right away messaged the director and told him what was going on. And one of them was able to drop a pin, and that’s the last thing (the organization) heard until the kidnappers contacted them later in the day.”