The FBI is actively working to recover a group of American and Canadian Christian missionaries that were abducted in Haiti over the weekend, the White House confirmed on Monday.
“The FBI is part of a coordinated US government effort to get the US citizens involved to safety,” Spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters, confirming earlier reports. “The US embassy in Port-au-Prince is coordinating with local authorities, and providing assistance to the families to resolve the situation.”
US President Joe Biden has been briefed on the abductions, and is continuing to receive updates, Psaki added.
The White House did not confirm additional details about the FBI’s activities due to the ongoing nature of its operations.
Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries confirmed on Sunday the kidnapping of 17 of its missionaries by a Haitian gang while they were visiting an orphanage on Saturday. The group includes 16 US citizens and one Canadian national. Five of those abducted are children.
“Civil authorities in Haiti and the United States are aware of what has happened and are offering assistance,” it said in an update released on Monday. “We continue to monitor the situation closely and are in earnest prayer.”
Various media reports cited Haitian officials as identifying the party responsibly for the abductions as the 400 Mawozo gang, which is based in the capital Port-au-Prince.