Remaining U.S. Hostages in Haiti Have Been Freed, Group Says
(Bloomberg) -- The remaining 12 North American missionaries who were taken hostage in Haiti in October have been released, according to their organization.
In a statement Thursday, Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries said all of its hostages were now free and said it hopes to “to provide more information as we are able.”
Sixteen U.S. citizens, one Canadian and their Haitian driver were kidnapped on Oct. 16 after visiting an orphanage on the outskirts of Haiti’s capital. The hostages included five children.
While two hostages were released in November and another three were released earlier this month, Christian Aid Ministries has declined to provide their names, or any other details.
“We welcome reports that they are free, and getting the care that they need after their ordeal,” Karine Jean-Pierre, the principal deputy White House press secretary, said at a briefing Thursday. “We are thankful for the FBI, the State Department and Haitian law enforcement officials who have been working tirelessly to get these missionaries home.”
Jean-Pierre said President Joe Biden had been receiving “daily updates” and the U.S. government had been “working tirelessly” over the past two months to win their release.
One of Haiti’s largest gangs, 400 Mawozo, had claimed responsibility and was asking for $1 million ransom for each. The United States has a long-standing policy of not offering ransoms, and it was unclear if one was paid.
Haiti has been seized by gang violence that has paralyzed large areas of the country, and the unrest has escalated since President Jovenel Moise was murdered in his home July 7.
Kidnappings have also become commonplace in the Caribbean nation. On Monday, three Haitians -- including a 7-year-old girl -- were kidnapped, according to the local newspaper Gazette Haiti.
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