International News

Two of 17 Kidnapped Christian Missionaries in Haiti Are Freed

The Tablet Staff

PROSPECT HEIGHTS — Two of the 17 Christian missionaries kidnapped by gang members in Haiti in October were set free over the weekend, leaders of their Ohio-based organization announced.

A sign in Millersburg, Ohio, marks the entrance of the home office of Christian Aid Ministries Oct. 17, 2021. (Photo: CNS/Aaron Josefczyk, Reuters)

Leaders of Christian Aid Ministries said they had little information and could not confirm the identities of those released, the background circumstances, or their whereabouts. However, the group did confirm that the two freed captives “are safe, in good spirits, and are being cared for.”

[Related: Bishop Dumas Urges Immediate Release of Captive Missionaries in Haiti]

National Police in Haiti confirmed the release of the two captives. A U.S. State Department spokesperson said officials were pleased to hear reports of the release.

Given the dangerous situation on the ground in Haiti, where armed street gangs control many roads and villages, Christian Aid Ministries is moving with caution. 

“We ask that those who have more specific information about the release and the individuals involved would safeguard that information,” the group said in a statement Sunday. “While we rejoice at this release, our hearts are with the 15 people who are still being held.”

The kidnapping took place on Oct. 16. Members of the 400 Mawozo street gang kidnapped 17 people — including five children — in Ganthier, a town outside of the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince. The victims included 16 Americans and one Canadian.

Christian Aid Ministries was in Haiti to help rebuild churches destroyed in the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit the country on Aug. 14.

Haitian officials said at the time of the kidnapping that 400 Mawozo was demanding a ransom of $1 million per victim.