Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Dec 16, 2021 / 10:17 am (CNA).
The final 12 missionaries were released by a Haitian gang on Thursday, Dec. 16, exactly two months to the day after they were kidnapped while working at an orphanage.
The release of the hostages was announced by Haitian police spokesman Garry Desrosiers.
“We glorify God for answered prayer — the remaining twelve hostages are FREE! Join us in praising God that all seventeen of our loved ones are now safe,” said a statement from Christian Aid Ministries, an Ohio-based Anabaptist organization that sponsored the missionaries in Haiti.
“Thank you for your fervent prayers throughout the past two months. We hope to provide more information as we are able,” they said.
No other updates were available on the condition of the now-former hostages.
All 17 Christian Aid Ministries missionaries who were kidnapped in Haiti two months ago have now been released. https://t.co/qiqdNNXSZy
— Ruth Graham (@publicroad) December 16, 2021
On Oct. 16, the Haitian gang 400 Mawozo kidnapped 17 missionaries, and released a ransom demand of $1 million per hostage. The leader of the gang threatened to kill the hostages if the ransom demands were not paid.
Those kidnapped ranged in age from 8 months to 48 years; and all but one were American citizens. Five were children.
At the time of the kidnapping, the missionaries were building an orphanage in Fond Parisien, Haiti. They were based in Titanyen.
According to Christian Aid Ministries, those kidnapped were “from Amish, Mennonite, and other Anabaptist communities in Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Oregon, and Ontario, Canada.”
Two hostages were released in late November, and an additional three hostages were freed on Dec. 6.
Throughout the ordeal, Christian Aid Ministries provided near-daily updates on the plight of the missionaries, and encouraged people to continue to pray for their safe release.
“Tomorrow it will be two months since our difficult journey began,” they wrote on Wednesday, Dec. 15.
“As we stated one day after the crisis began — As an organization, we commit this situation to God and trust Him to see us through. May the Lord Jesus be magnified and many more people come to know His love and salvation. We again want to affirm our commitment to trust God to guide us,” the organization said.
Haiti has become increasingly dangerous; in mid-November, the U.S. State Department ordered American citizens to leave the country.
“The Department of State urges U.S. citizens to make plans to depart Haiti now via commercial means. U.S. citizens should carefully consider the risks of traveling to or remaining in Haiti in light of the current security situation and infrastructure challenges,” said the State Department in a Nov. 10 release.
“Widespread fuel shortages may limit essential services in an emergency, including access to banks, money transfers, urgent medical care, internet and telecommunications, and public and private transportation options. The U.S. Embassy is unlikely to be able to assist U.S. citizens in Haiti with departure if commercial options become unavailable,” the department said.
The 400 Mawozo gang responsible for kidnapping the 17 missionaries is the same criminal gang behind the April 2021 kidnapping of Catholic priests and religious in Haiti.
All of those kidnapped in April were released within several weeks; ransom was paid for just two of the kidnapped priests, according to a Haitian official.
It is unclear if ransom was paid for any of the 17 former hostages affiliated with Christian Aid Ministries.
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