RCMP says it's collaborating with Haitian police following Canadian's kidnapping
Canadian among 17 missionaries kidnapped Sunday near Port-au-Prince
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police says it's working with police in Haiti and the U.S. on the abduction of a group of 17 missionaries — one of them a Canadian — as the Caribbean country once again struggles with a spike in gang-related violence.
On Sunday, the Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries said some of its missionaries — 12 adults and five children — were in Haiti to visit an orphanage when they were abducted near the capital Port-au-Prince.
In a statement today, Christian Aid Ministries said the children are aged eight months, three years, six, 13 and 15, while the adults range in age from 18 to 48.
Christian Aid Ministries said the missionaries supported "thousands of needy school children," the elderly and other vulnerable people in Haiti by supplying food and medicine for clinics, and were "actively involved in coordinating a rebuilding project" for those who lost homes in the devastating August earthquake.
A Haitian police inspector told The Associated Press police believe the notorious 400 Mawozo gang, a group with a long record of killings and extortion, kidnapped the group.
"The RCMP takes this situation very seriously and is collaborating with Haitian and American policing authorities on this incident," said RCMP spokesperson Robin Percival in an email.
"The RCMP does not comment on ongoing investigations conducted by other countries. The RCMP will not comment further on this specific matter at the present time."
A White House spokesperson said Monday that the FBI is also working to locate the missing.
GAC says it's working with local authorities
In a statement issued to CBC News, Global Affairs Canada said it "is aware that a Canadian citizen was kidnapped in Haiti."
"Consular officials are in contact with the family of the individual and are providing consular assistance," department spokesperson Jason Kung said.
"Canada takes this situation very seriously and is collaborating with Haitian and American policing authorities as well as implicated NGOs on this incident. Due to the provisions of the Privacy Act, no further information can be disclosed."
On Monday, thousands of workers in Haiti angry about the country's lack of security went on strike in protest following the kidnapping — one of the largest reported kidnappings of its kind in recent years.
As part of the strike, public transportation drivers stayed home and businesses and schools were closed.
At least 328 kidnapping victims were reported to Haiti's national police in the first eight months of this year, 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.
With files from The Associated Press