Two of the 17 Haitian Hostages Have Been Released From Captivity

Two of the 17 Haitian Hostages Have Been Released From Captivity Photo Source: Johnny Fils-Aime/Miami Herald

Two missionaries who were held hostage in Haiti have been released according to Ohio-based missionary group Christian Aid Ministries.

In a statement released Monday, the group details, “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.”

Gary Desrosiers, a spokesperson for Haiti’s National Police, also confirmed on Sunday that two hostages were set free.

The missionary group does not give specifics about who the hostages are, when they were released, how the release was secured, or any other details related to their release. “Only limited information can be provided,” the statement explains, “but we are able to report that the two hostages who were released are safe, in good spirits, and being cared for.” The missionary group added, “We ask that those who have more specific information about the release and the individuals involved would safeguard that information.”

The hostages were working in Haiti while on a missionary trip. Among them were 16 Americans and one Canadian. On October 16, as the group was making their way to an orphanage outside of the country's capital, Port-au-Prince, they were abducted by the country’s notorious gang 400 Mawozo. The gang is known for conducting mass kidnappings. The group has a heavy social media presence where they proudly flaunt their massive weapons cache and boast about their criminal activity. Among the hostages are five children with the youngest being an infant.

Shortly after news of the kidnapping, Christian Aid Ministries confirmed with several news outlets that the gang was seeking $1 million per person in exchange for the hostages’ freedom. If the demands were not met, the gang threatened to kill the hostages.

Very little information has been released about the hostages including what condition they are in and where authorities are at in terms of negotiating a release. The U.S. government did comment on the release but did not give away any specific details. “We welcome reports that two individuals held hostage in Haiti have been released,” shared a spokesperson for the State Department.

The FBI is also actively working with Haitian authorities to secure the freedom of the hostages. The FBI has not shared any details following the release of the hostages.

Since the kidnapping, The U.S. government has warned Americans not to travel to the nation because of the heightened risk of kidnappings for ransom and the heightened instability due to a fuel crisis initiated by gangs blocking gas terminals. On Friday, the Canadian government announced that it would pull out its staff from the Canadian embassy and leave only those who were deemed essential personnel.

The kidnapping is the latest event to cast a shadow over the poverty-stricken Caribbean nation. In early July, fear and shock gripped the nation after President Jovenel Moise was assassinated in his home during the night. Moise’s wife and children were also in the house, but they managed to survive. One month after the assassination, a powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rocked the island nation, killing over 2,000 people and destroying hundreds of homes.

Nadia El-Yaouti
Nadia El-Yaouti
Nadia El-Yaouti is a postgraduate at James Madison University where she studied English and Education. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and two little girls. Although she considers herself a workaholic, when she’s not juggling work, you can be sure to find her traveling the world with her little family.