The Haitian gang that kidnapped 16 missionaries from the U.S. and Canada is demanding a ransom of roughly $1 million per hostage, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Haitian Justice Minister Liszt Quitel revealed the asking price of the gang that took the 16 missionaries, including five children. One of them, according to CNN, is an 8-month-old baby.

The ransom demand amounts to around $17 million. The group responsible is the notorious “400 Mawozo” gang, which abducted the members of an Ohio organization called Christian Aid Ministries, made up of the Amish and Mennonites.

Local police and the FBI are in contact with the kidnappers, according to the WSJ.

Haiti has dealt with decades of political and economic strife including the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse.

The 400 Mawozo gang, which according to NBC Miami, roughly translates to “inexperienced men,” is known throughout the Caribbean for ransom kidnappings, extortion and murder.

According to NBC Miami, “the violent group controls the Croix-des-Bouquets area, including Ganthier, where the missionaries were abducted and where many other kidnappings and carjackings have occurred.”

An expelled migrant arrives on September 19, 2021 at the airport in Port-au-Prince, Haiti An expelled migrant arrives on September 19, 2021 at the airport in Port-au-Prince, Haiti Photo: AFP / Richard Pierrin

Religious missionaries and charities have a long history in Haiti and are not always welcome, often ending up in situations like kidnapping or an arrest in violation of anti-proselytizing laws. However, the Mennonites in Haiti were not believed to be converting people en masse. Haiti is a primarily Catholic country. The group was visiting an orphanage just before they were kidnapped.

In Haiti, a nationwide strike occurred on Monday, emptying the streets of Port-au-Prince, the capital. The strike is a protest of the lack of security in the country.

“It has been months since we appealed for help, and since we have had no security against kidnappings, we have called for the population to suspend all activity," the president of Haiti's Association of Owners and Drivers, Changeux Mehu, told the Associated Foreign Press.