The Caribbean

Kidnapped missionaries released in Haiti

Published : December 17, 2021 15:16 IST

The missionaries were in Haiti as part of the Christian Aid Ministries. Photo: Joseph Odelyn/AP/picture alliance

All 12 missionaries kidnapped by a gang in Haiti in October have been released, according to the police.

The remaining 12 Canadian and American missionaries kidnapped in October by a gang in Haiti have been released, police spokesman Garry Desrosiers said on December 16. Two months ago, the missionaries were traveling with Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries as part of a larger group of 17 when they were all kidnapped. Five members of the group had already been released. In a statement, Christian Aid Ministries said, "We glorify God for answered prayer, the remaining 12 hostages are FREE!"

The release of the remaining 12 missionaries follows weeks of negotiations with the powerful criminal gang "400 Mawozo" responsible for the mass abduction on October 16. The group of missionaries was abducted after leaving an orphanage east of the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, in an area controlled by the gang. Five children, including an 8-month-old, were part of the group at the time of the kidnapping.

"Today is the day we have been hoping for, praying for, and working so hard to achieve," said Congressman Bill Huizenga, whose western Michigan congressional district includes the town where the missionaries' home church is located. "I want to thank members of the hostage negotiation team for their diligence in securing the safe release of all the hostages. This is a great day for families in Michigan and across the nation who have been worried about the safety of their loved ones," Huizenga said.

The 400 Mawozo gang demanded a ransom of $1 million per person, threatening to kill hostages if ransom demands were not met. The FBI, Haitian authorities and the anti-kidnapping unit of Haiti's national police worked together to negotiate the missionaries' safe release from the 400 Mawozo gang.

ar/sms (Reuters, EFE, AP, AFP)

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