The US government is urging its people in Haiti to come home as the country continues to be torn apart, including a situation in which US citizens have been kept prisoner for several weeks.
For many weeks, gangs have been blocking fuel delivery ports in Haiti, causing a serious fuel scarcity, according to the Associated Press , and officials are working to rescue 17 missionaries, 16 of whom are Americans, who were kidnapped by Haitian gangs last month.
“Widespread fuel shortages may limit essential services in an emergency, including access to banks, money transfers, urgent medical care, internet and telecommunications, and public and private transportation options,” the State Department warned. “The U.S. Embassy is unlikely to be able to assist U.S. citizens in Haiti with departure if commercial options become unavailable.”
During a press conference on Tuesday, Haitian government officials recognized the gasoline scarcity and stated that they are trying to remedy the problem. According to the Associated Press, no information on how the problem will be resolved was offered.
The 17 missionaries held hostage in Haiti were kidnapped on Oct. 16, with a ransom for their rescue at $17 million. Five of the hostages are reportedly minors, and one is a Canadian. Joseph Wilson, the leader of the 400 Mawozo gang that kidnapped the missionaries, threatened on Oct. 21 to kill the hostages if he was not paid.
The missionaries' organization, Christian Aid Ministries, notified the Washington Examiner on Wednesday that the hostages are still being held hostage.
"We request continued prayer for the kidnappers, that God would soften their hearts and that they would experience His love and goodness," the organization said.
The Mawozo gang is infamous for abducting religious groups and is responsible for 80% of abductions in Haiti between June and September. The group abducted five priests and two nuns in April, prompting Catholic institutions and schools to close in protest.