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Abducted Elderly Pastor Still Held After Ransom Paid, Haitian Gang Threatens to Kill 17 Other Missionary Hostages

10-22-2021
People protest for the release of kidnapped missionaries near the Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries headquarters in Titanyen, north of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021. (AP Photo/Joseph Odelyn)
People protest for the release of kidnapped missionaries near the Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries headquarters in Titanyen, north of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021. (AP Photo/Joseph Odelyn)

A 79-year-old pastor who's an American citizen is still missing after being abducted in Haiti more than three weeks ago. 

The Miami Herald reports Pastor Jean Pierre Ferrer Michel, a founding member of the church Jesus Center, was kidnapped in broad daylight by armed men dressed as Haitian National Police officers on Oct. 3.  He was sitting in his vehicle in the parking lot of his Port-au-Prince church when he was seized. 

An undisclosed ransom amount was paid for his release, but so far Michel and another member of his congregation have not been freed, his family told the newspaper.   

The family also said Michel's case is not getting very much attention from the international media, only in the local press. 

"They don't talk about it like they are talking about the case of the group of 17. But this man is an American citizen, too," a family friend told the Miami Herald on the condition of anonymity. 

In order to raise awareness, Michel's wife, Maryse Michel, released a video on Tuesday in Haitian Creole pleading for her husband's release. 

"They have yet to release him after 17 days," Michel said. "He's without his medication. He's an old man who is nearly 80 years old and doesn't have a lot of years in front of him. I've come to plead, and I came to ask everyone who it concerns: Release the pastor. Release my husband. Give the children back their father. Give the family back their brother because we did everything already. They are still holding them. They have to let them go. We did everything we were supposed to do."

According to the Miami Herald, there has been no contact with the gang since they called the family after receiving the ransom, saying the money wasn't enough.

Haitian Gang Leader Threatens to Kill Group of 17 Hostages

Meanwhile, the Christian Aid Ministries group is calling for prayer for the 17 missionaries who were kidnapped in Haiti last weekend to be brought home safely following a bold threat by the gang leader.

A Michigan pastor who's affiliated with the group told ABC's Good Morning America that he and his congregation are close with one of the families among those kidnapped. "The father of the group was there to teach other church leaders in Haiti," said Ron Marks. "It was just the beginning. They are like children and grandchildren to us besides being church family."

The kidnapping gang's leader said the hostages will be killed if his demands aren't met. 

He also threatened Haiti's new Prime Minister Ariel Henry and its chief of national police while speaking in front of coffins holding several members of his gang who were recently killed. 

Authorities have said the 400 Mawozo gang is demanding $1 million for each of those who were kidnapped Saturday. It isn't clear if that includes the five children who were among the 16 Americans and one Canadian who were taken along with their Haitian driver during a visit to an orphanage.

Meanwhile, living conditions worsen in Haiti as demonstrators burn tires and block roads, protesting the economic collapse of the country amidst ongoing violence and other problems.

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