Six Catholic missionaries and a teacher have been kidnapped in the Haitian capital, their parish said Saturday, amid an ongoing upswing in abductions in the gang-plagued Caribbean nation, Report informs via Agence France Presse.

The Brothers of the Sacred Heart parish in Haiti announced “with pain the villainous kidnapping of six… members and a teacher working in the mission” at a school in the gang-controlled Bicentenaire neighborhood Friday morning.

A ransom demand was made, a source in the congregation told AFP.

“For several years, absurd and unjustified violence has befallen the peaceful Haitian people, and even people who devote their lives to the cause of the most vulnerable are not spared,” the parish said, adding that it was closing the Jean XXIII school, where the victims worked, “until further notice.”

Facing deep insecurity and spiraling political and health crises, Haiti has seen a soaring number of kidnappings in recent months, especially in its densely populated capital.

January became the most violent month in Haiti in two years, according to the United Nations, with over 800 people killed, injured or kidnapped and some 300 gang members also killed or injured.

The rampant gang violence has prompted the UN Security Council to approve a multinational mission to support Haiti’s police force, though it has been delayed by legal proceedings in Kenya, which has agreed to lead the project.