A Haitian gang member who is holding 17 missionaries, including young children, hostage has demanded to shoot each in the head if his demands for a large ransom are not met.
“I will put a bullet in the heads of these Americans,” Wilson Joseph, leader of the 400 Mawozo gang, said in a video, according to The Daily Mail.
The 16 Americans and 1 Canadian were in Haiti with the organization Christian Aid Ministries and they include five children, the youngest being just eight months old, according to NPR. The group’s Haitian driver was also kidnapped.
The whereabouts of the hostages are currently unknown, and the Mawozo gang is demanding a ransom of $1 million per person.
“I swear by thunder that if I don’t get what I’m asking for, I will put a bullet in the heads of these Americans,” Joseph threatened in the video.
Christian Aid Ministries is calling on the public to pray for the hostages and their families. They said they would not comment on the video “until those directly involved in obtaining the release of the hostages have determined that comments will not jeopardize the safety and well-being of our staff and family members.”
The group has said that the families are members of Amish, Mennonite, and other conservative Anabaptist communities from Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Oregon and Ontario, Canada, according to NPR.
The New York Times reported that their anguished friends and family back home have been praying around the clock, waking up in shifts throughout the night to pray fervently for the missionary’s safe retrieval — and of the salvation of the gang members who abducted them.
“God has given our loved ones the unique opportunity to live out our Lord’s command to love your enemies,” the families of the unidentified victims stated in a letter earlier this week.
“These kinds of things erase some of the boundaries that exist within our circles,” Marcus Yoder, the executive director of the Amish & Mennonite Heritage Center in Millersburg, said.
“Many people in the community feel helpless, but they also realize the power of prayer and the power of our historic theology,” he added, pointing to the Anabaptist belief in non-violence.
We echo the call to pray fervently for these families, who risked their safety and livelihood to minister and bring the healing power of Christ to the nation of Haiti, which has been ravaged by natural disasters, corruption, political turmoil, and crime.
Pray also for the hardened hearts of Marcus Joseph and his fellow gang members, with the assurance and knowledge that the God of the Universe can bring even the wickedest men to their knees in His presence.
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