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Haitian police have found evidence that 16 Americans and a Canadian kidnapped by a criminal gang are still alive, police sources said Monday.
The group, which includes missionaries and their families, was abducted on October 16 on their way back from an orphanage east of Port-au-Prince, controlled by Haiti’s most powerful crime group.
“We have evidence that all the hostages are alive,” National Police sources told AFP, but did not provide details on the type of evidence obtained.
Police said they were in talks with the kidnappers and that several U.S. Federal FBI police officers were cooperating in the case.
Christian Aid Ministries, a charity that works with missionaries, said the hostages were 12 adults aged 18 to 48 and five children aged 8 months to 5 years.
The AFP reports that the mob, which has identified itself as “400 Maoists” and is holding them captive, is demanding a ransom of one million dollars each.
Gang leader Wilson Joseph said in a video he posted on social media last week that he had threatened to kill the hostages.
These scenes show Joseph wearing a suit and surrounded by armed men.
“I will kill these Americans because I don’t get what I need,” Joseph says in the video.
The United States has advised its citizens not to travel to Haiti, especially since it maintains that kidnappings are targeting Americans.
Much of Haiti is controlled by criminal gangs and has carried out 782 kidnappings this year for money, according to the Haiti-based Center for Human Rights Analysis and Research.
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© 2021 AFP
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