Two missionaries among a group of 16 Americans and one Canadian taken hostage for ransom by a Haitian gang on Oct. 16 have been released, Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries has announced.
The group, which included men, women, children and one infant, was visiting an orphanage in the capital of Port-au-Prince when they were taken hostage by a gang known as 400 Mawozo, which is known to conduct mass kidnappings for ransom.
Christian Aid Ministries said on its website that it learned of the release over the weekend, and that the two freed missionaries were “safe, in good spirits, and being cared for.” The ministry, which conducts humanitarian and Gospel work internationally, said it cannot release details about who the missionaries are, nor why they were let go.
“We ask that those who have more specific information about the release and the individuals involved would safeguard that information,” the ministry said in a blog update.
“As we rejoice about the two hostages who were released over the weekend, we continue to pray for the fifteen who are still in captivity. This is the 38th day since the kidnapping took place.
“God has given us much encouragement through the prayers and notes we have received. We, along with the family members of the hostages, treasure this support from believers around the world.”
Reportedly, the gang initially sought $1 million per hostage, though that was thought to be a starting point for negotiations.
The New York Times quoted a State Department spokesman as saying, “We welcome reports that two individuals held hostage in Haiti have been released. We do not have further comment at this time.”
Lawlessness in Haiti has reportedly worsened since President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in July, with large swaths of Port-au-Prince now controlled by gangs. A magnitude 7.2 earthquake in August has only added to the social unrest as resources were strained.
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