Up to 17 American U.S. missionaries kidnapped in Haiti after leaving orphanage

The New York Times reported that 17 American Christian missionaries were kidnapped in Haiti by a gang on Saturday.
Details: According to Haitian security officials, the missionaries had just left an orphanage. They were on their way to Port-au-Prince to drop off some family members, when they were abducted by the gang.

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According to the outlet, they had planned to travel to another destination.

According to the Washington Post, a voice recording by the Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries was described as a prayer alert and said that the "mission director" and American embassy were working together to find the best solution.

According to AFP news agency, a security guard said that the "armed gang" who kidnapped the group "between 15-17" Americans had been engaged in theft and kidnappings for months.

What they are saying: A spokesperson for the State Department stated in an email statement that it was aware about the reports.

A spokesperson for the department stated that safety and welfare of U.S. citizens abroad was one of its highest priorities.

The big picture: Haiti has been ravaged by violence since President Jovenel Moe's assassination last July.

According to the Center for Analysis and Research in Human Rights in Port-au-Prince, there was a spike in kidnappings in Haiti, from 73 in August, to 117 in September. This is per WashPost which noted that Haiti has the highest per capita kidnapping rates on Earth.

Editor's Note: This is a breaking news story. Keep checking back for more updates.

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