(ConservativeStar.com) – Haiti has experienced quite a bit of unrest in the last several months. In September, President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in his home. And the next month a group of missionaries was kidnapped.
In a bit of good news, a group of US missionaries kidnapped in Haiti two months ago has been freed, according to the State Department and Haitian police.
Grabbed at Gunpoint
The kidnapping ordeal began on October 16, when a group of 16 Americans and 1 Canadian – including 5 children, 1 of them just 8 months old – were returning from a trip to an orphanage outside Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince. As they drove through the city’s suburbs their minibus was stopped by a group of armed men.
Local police soon realized the missionaries had been abducted by a criminal gang called 400 Mawozo, which specializes in kidnapping for ransom. Sure enough, a demand for $1 million for each hostage soon arrived. The FBI sent a team of hostage negotiators to Haiti to help local police, but details of the negotiations were kept private.
Sign of Hope
Kidnappings in the region are usually quick affairs, with a ransom being paid (and the hostages released) within a day of the abduction. When this one dragged out for a month things were starting to look bleak for the missionaries, but on November 21, Christian Aid Ministries announced that two of the hostages had been released. Another three were freed on December 5, but then progress seemed to slow down again – and the gang leader threatened to kill his captives unless the ransom was paid.
Finally, on December 16, the Haitian National Police said that the remaining 12 hostages had been found. It’s reported that they’re thin but unharmed and in good spirits. Christian Aid Ministries didn’t give details of the release but issued a statement confirming they had all been freed and thanking people for their prayers throughout the kidnapping.
So far no details have been released on why the gang freed its hostages. In previous 400 Mawozo kidnappings, victims have been held until the ransom is paid – and they do have a record of kidnapping clergy and missionaries. It’s understandable that many people will pay the ransom to get their kidnapped colleagues or relatives back, but that just increases the risk by giving kidnappers an incentive to do it again. For now, though, the most important thing is that the missionaries will now have the chance to spend Christmas at home with their families.
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