Some of the kidnapped missionaries in Haiti are from Michigan, according to U.S. Representative Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland.
“It’s a sad day for western Michigan,” Huizenga said in a statement. “It appears that individuals from western Michigan were kidnapped while on a mission trip to Haiti. My office is working in cooperation and consultation with the State Department and the Biden administration to secure return. safe for missionaries and their families. ”
The FBI is working with Haitian authorities to rescue 17 people – 12 adults and 5 children – working with Christian aid ministries in Ohio who were kidnapped on Saturday while on their way to an orphanage, reported the Associated Press. Some of them would be with Hart Dunkard Brethren Church in Michigan, which is part of the Dunkard Brethren denomination.
Michigan church officials could not be reached for comment.
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The gang that kidnapped the 17 missionaries are demanding $ 17 million in ransom, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The co-chairs of the House Haiti Caucus, one of whom is US Representative Andy Levin, of the Township of D-Bloomfield, said in a statement that “we call for the safe and immediate release of US and Canadian citizens kidnapped in Haiti this week. -end. . The US government must continue current efforts to secure their release. Our indignation and concern must extend beyond this rapture. For too long, hundreds of Haitian civilians have fallen victim to ruthless organized criminals terrorizing Haiti.
Levin is also a co-founder of the Haiti Caucus and has been outspoken on issues related to Haiti, including opposing the deportation of Haitian migrants.
“We reiterate our call for an end to deportations to Haiti, which needlessly place innocent individuals and families in extremely dangerous situations,” the Haiti Caucus said. “The only way out of this crisis is to remove the root causes that fuel these inexcusable violent gangs. The United States and the international community have an obligation to strongly support Haitian-led efforts to build real and responsible democracy, stabilize their country, end violence, bring perpetrators to justice, and ensure the safety of the people. Haitian. “
Last month, Haitian Americans organized a demonstration in Detroit to call for an end to the deportation of Haitian asylum seekers.
Ohio Christian Aid Ministries said in a statement they were monitoring the situation.
“We are entering the third day since seventeen of our workers were kidnapped by a gang in Haiti,” the Ohio group said. “The media have relayed this situation around the world. Civilian authorities in Haiti and the United States are aware of what has happened and are offering to help. We continue to monitor the situation closely and pray sincerely.
Christian Aid Ministries often works with conservative Mennonite, Amish, and other groups that are part of the Anabaptist tradition.
“We greatly appreciate the prayers of believers around the world, including our many Amish and Mennonite supporters,” the group said.
The Akron Beacon Journal and The Associated Press contributed to this report.