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Christian Aid Ministries in Titanyen, Haiti, on Oct. 22. Photo: Ricardo Arguengo/AFP via Getty Images

The 12 kidnapped missionaries who found safety in Haiti last week made a daring overnight escape, walking for miles to find help before being flown to the United States, Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries said Monday.

Driving the news: Their escape came two months after the police say the 400 Mawozo gang kidnapped 17 U.S. and Canadian missionaries in Port-au-Prince and demanded ransom. Five hostages had been released prior to last week's escape.

  • Until Monday, the details of the missionaries' ordeal were unknown.

What they're saying: "They found a way to open the door that was closed and blocked, filed silently to the path that they had chosen to follow and quickly left the place that they were held, despite the fact that numerous guards were close," Christian Aid Ministries spokesperson Weston Showalter said at a news conference.

  • They used a mountain in the distance, followed the guidance of the stars and prayed to find safety, Showalter said, adding that the group included a 10-month-old, a 3-year-old, a 14-year-old girl and a 15-year-old boy.
  • The group believes it walked up to 10 miles, "traveling through woods and thickets, working through thorns and briers," he said. As the sun came up, the missionaries found someone to make a phone call for help. "They were finally free," Showalter said through tears.
  • Individuals who were not named provided "funds to pay a ransom and allow the negotiation process to continue,” said David Troyer, general director of Christian Aid Ministries. "We are not able to say anything further in respect to these negotiations."

The big picture: Haiti has been plagued by worsening violence since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in July.

  • "The Administration remains committed to Haiti’s future and supporting the safety and prosperity of the Haitian people. We will continue to support the Haitian National Police to improve security for all Haitians, as well as U.S. citizens in Haiti," the State Department said last week.

Go deeper

Updated Dec 20, 2021 - World

All remaining missionaries kidnapped in Haiti are free, Christian group says

People in Haiti protest against the country's spike in kidnappings in November. Photo: RICHARD PIERRIN/AFP via Getty Images

The 12 remaining members of a Christian missionary group who were kidnapped by a Haitian gang in October are safe, Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries said Thursday.

The big picture: The news comes two months after police say the 400 Mawozo gang kidnapped 17 U.S. and Canadian missionaries in Port-au-Prince and demanded a ransom. Five of the abducted missionaries had previously been released.

10 mins ago - World

Biden will move U.S. troops to Eastern Europe "in the near term"

President Biden boards Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews on Jan. 28. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said on Friday he plans to move U.S. troops to Eastern European and NATO countries “in the near term.”

Driving the news: “Not too many” U.S. troops, Biden added in remarks to reporters at Joint Base Andrew upon returning from a trip to Pennsylvania. 

Updated 35 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Bomb cyclone prompts blizzard warnings from Virginia to Maine

Computer model projection showing the intense storm off of Cape Cod on Jan 29, 2022, with heavy snow and strong winds lashing the coastline. (Weatherbell.com)

Blizzard warnings are in effect for 11 million people from coastal Virginia to eastern Maine as a potentially historic winter storm is set to slam the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast beginning Friday.

Why it matters: The storm will bring hazards ranging from zero visibility amid hurricane force wind gusts and heavy snow, to coastal flooding that will erode vulnerable beaches and threaten property from the Jersey shore to coastal Massachusetts.