US evaluates “all options” to free kidnapped missionaries in Haiti

The United States is examining “all possible options” to secure the release of US missionaries kidnapped more than a week ago in Haiti, said Jake Sullivan, national security adviser to President Joe Biden, on Tuesday.

In a press conference at the White House, Sullivan recalled that the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has sent agents to Haiti to locate the 17 people, including 16 US missionaries and their families, who were kidnapped on 16 December. October in the country.

“We have provided the resources and assets that we believe can help bring this to a successful conclusion said Biden’s adviser.

The US president receives information every day about the case and “is deeply interested” in ensuring that each of these people is located and released, both the adults and the five children who were in the group, he stressed.

“We are evaluating any possible option to achieve this,” Sullivan said.

However, he affirmed that this type of kidnapping in Haiti can take time to resolve “depending on the different circumstances,” and that it is necessary to manage the situation “as carefully as possible.”

The missionaries are being held by the 400 Mawozo gangs, which is demanding a ransom of 17 million dollars for the five children and twelve adults whom it kidnapped from the bus in which they were traveling after visiting an orphanage in the community of Ganthier, on the outskirts. from the Haitian capital.

The White House stressed last week that its policy is not to negotiate with kidnappers, so it is not willing to pay the ransom of the missionaries, who are members of the Christian Aid Ministries association, based in Ohio, in the Midwest of USA.

The responsible gang, 400 Mawozo, is one of the most dangerous in Haiti, has been sowing terror in the suburbs of Port-au-Prince for years, and controls part of the town of Ganthier, where the abduction took place.

The kidnapping of the missionaries has led to the resignation of the director-general of the Haitian National Police, Léon Charles, who had been in charge of the force since November 2020 and had to deal with one of the biggest waves of violence in recent years.

Sullivan also assured this Tuesday that, during their participation, this weekend in the summit of G20 leaders in Rome, Biden and the rest of the US delegation will raise the “serious” challenges facing Haiti, where there is a “growing invasion of space. political and economic on the part of the criminal gangs “.

“The United States has to do its part to help Haiti get the kind of investment and international aid it needs, but other countries that have a long relationship with Haiti also have to do more,” he added.

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