A group of 17 US missionaries – including children – have been kidnapped in Haiti.
They were on their way home from building an orphanage in the capital of Port-au-Prince, Christian Aid Ministries said.
A voice message sent to a number of religious missions said: “This is a special prayer alert. Pray that the gang members would come to repentance.”
Haiti has seen a spike in the number of gang-related kidnappings after President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated at his home in July.
A US government spokesperson told the AP news agency: “The welfare and safety of US citizens abroad is one of the highest priorities of the Department of State.”
According to The New York Times, they were abducted from a bus that was heading to the airport.
The newspaper said parts of the capital are now so dangerous that many residents have fled – and few pedestrians now venture out during the day.
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Haiti is the poorest country in the Americas, and the surge in gang violence has displaced thousands of people.
In August, an earthquake killed more than 2,000 people.