News & Politics

Haiti Gang Kidnaps 17 American Missionaries, Including Children

(AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)

A grim report out of Haiti, where 17 U.S. missionaries returning home after building an orphanage were kidnapped, according to a voice message sent to various religious missions by “an organization with direct knowledge of the incident,” per Fox News.

According to a message from Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries, the missionaries were on their way home after building an orphanage in Port-au-Prince and were taken, along with several of their children.

Haiti has been plagued by periods of lawlessness its entire history, but the combination of the murder of President Jovenel Moïse and a devastating earthquake that killed more than 2,000 Haitians has thrown the country into more chaos than usual.

At least 328 kidnapping victims were reported to Haiti’s National Police in the first eight months of 2021, compared with a total of 234 for all of 2020, according to a report issued last month by the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti known as BINUH.

Gangs have been accused of kidnapping schoolchildren, doctors, police officers, busloads of passengers and others as they grow more powerful. In April, one gang kidnapped five priests and two nuns, a move that prompted a protest similar to the one organized for this Monday to decry the lack of security in the impoverished country.

The United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti, known as BINUH, Issued a report recently. “Political turmoil, the surge in gang violence, deteriorating socioeconomic conditions – including food insecurity and malnutrition – all contribute to the worsening of the humanitarian situation,” BINUH said in its report. “An overstretched and under-resourced police force alone cannot address the security ills of Haiti.”

If you think that sounds like a veiled appeal for the United States to engage in a little nation-building, you’d be right. Of course, there will be plenty of “help” from the United Nations. Other countries will send contingents, all wanting to guard the airport, which is what happened when NATO rode to the rescue in Afghanistan. When it comes to actually pacifying the country and restoring some form of civic order, only one nation’s soldiers that will do the fighting, the bleeding, and the dying.

And it ain’t France.

Meanwhile, the gang holding the Americans, 400 Mawozo, is not known for its gentle demeanor.

Washington Post:

Organizations that monitor kidnappings in Haiti said the missionaries were abducted by a much-feared gang known as 400 Mawozo, which is known for targeting religious groups and controls parts of Ganthier, a town east of the capital where the group was seized on Saturday. In recent months, its members have increasingly engage in mass kidnappings from buses and cars.

The gang in April kidnapped five priests and two nuns, including French nationals, in an incident that led Catholic universities and schools to close in protest. Then-Prime Minister Joseph Jouthe resigned shortly afterward, following a surge of other gang crimes — including an attack on an orphanage in which children were sexually assaulted.

Biden should resist the calls to intervene in any way. Getting caught up in this morass would mean another two or three decades of fruitlessly trying to create a country where none exists.

Haiti has been and always will be an international basket case. But perhaps the United Nations could try its hand at pacification and nation-building? They certainly can’t do any worse than the U.S. Let the cost of these fruitless efforts at remaking the world fall on someone else’s shoulders for once.