Nov 21, 2021 - World

Haiti kidnappers free 2 of 17 abducted missionaries

People protest  a spike in kidnappings and gang-aggravated fuel crisis in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on November 18

People protest a spike in kidnappings and a gang-aggravated fuel crisis in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Thursday. Photo: Richard Pierrin/AFP via Getty Images

Two of the 17 American and Canadian Christian missionaries kidnapped in Haiti last month have been released, U.S. aid officials said Sunday.

Details: "We have learned that two of the hostages in Haiti were released, the Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries said in a statement. "Only limited information can be provided, but we are able to report that the two hostages who were released are safe, in good spirits, and being cared for."

"We cannot provide or confirm the names of those released, the reasons for their release, where they are from, or their current location. We ask that those who have more specific information about the release and the individuals involved would safeguard that information."
— Christian Aid Ministries
  • Haiti National Police spokesperson Garry Desrosiers confirmed to news outlets that two hostages abducted 37 days ago had been freed.

The big picture: Police said the 400 Mawozo gang in Port-au-Prince kidnapped the 16 U.S citizens and one Canadian — including five children.

  • The gang had demanded a ransom of $1 million per hostage, Reuters notes.
  • The U.S. does not pay kidnap ransoms for citizens.

Background: Haiti has been plagued by violence since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse last July.

  • Police received at least 328 kidnapping reports in the first eight months of 2021, compared with 234 in total for 2020, a UN agency in Haiti said in September, per AP.

What they're saying: A State Department spokesperson said in an emailed statement, "We welcome reports that two individuals held hostage in Haiti have been released. We do not have further comment at this time."

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