Seventeen U.S. missionaries were kidnapped at gunpoint on Oct. 16.

Authorities are investigating what appears to be a gang-style abduction of missionaries and loved ones in the Haitian capitol of Port-au-Prince.

Haitian security officials claim an armed 400 Mawozo gang-member stopped the group during a bus trip to Toussaint Louverture International Airport. The group includes five men, seven women, and five children according to a Christian Aid Ministries statement.

“The mission field director and the American embassy are working to see what can be done,” the Ohio-based organization said in an audio prayer alert obtained by the Washington Post. “Pray that the gang members will come to repentance.”

400 Mawozo is reportedly one of the most notorious gangs in the Caribbean country. Members are known for mass kidnapping and collecting ransoms worth up to $1 million per hostage.

The incident has already been reported to the U.S. Embassy. The Biden administration is discussing the matter with Haitian counterparts.

“The welfare and safety of U.S. citizens abroad are one of the highest priorities of the Department of State,” a federal government representative said according to the Discourse on Development website.

Severe poverty, gang crime, and political unrest intensified after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse and destructive 7.2-magnitude earthquake during the following month.

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