15 American missionaries, family kidnapped in Haiti — security source

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — About 15 American missionaries and family members were kidnapped by a gang outside the Haitian capital, a local security source tells AFP.

The group of between 15 and 17 people, including children, are being held by an armed gang that for months has been engaged in theft and kidnappings in the area between Port-au-Prince and the border with the Dominican Republic, the source says.

The “400 Mawozo” gang has hijacked several vehicles on the roads it controls, kidnapping American citizens and an undetermined number of Haitian citizens.

A spokesman for the US government says it’s aware of the reports but declines to provide any information.

“The welfare and safety of US citizens abroad is one of the highest priorities of the Department of State,” the official says.

The missionaries and their families were returning from a visit to an orphanage about 30 kilometers (18 miles) east of Port-au-Prince, a security source tells AFP.

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