Updated: Three more missionaries from a US-based charity have been released by their kidnappers in Haiti, reports the Washington Post. That leaves 12 members of Christian Aid Ministries still in captivity. All 17 were kidnapped by the 400 Mawozo gang in October. Five children were among those taken, though no details have been released about which members of the group have been freed or why. Our story from Nov. 21 follows:
Two of the 17 missionaries kidnapped in Haiti on Oct. 16 have been freed, according to the American missionary group they are affiliated with, the Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries. The hostages included women and children; 16 of them are American and one Canadian. The youngest hostage is an infant. It's not clear who was released or why only two were released, the New York Times reports, but they are said to be safe and "in good spirits." "While we rejoice at this release, our hearts are with the 15 people who are still being held," says the missionary organization in a statement cited by the AP.
The missionary group was visiting an orphanage outside the capital, Port-au-Prince, when the missionaries were kidnapped by 400 Mawozo, a gang known for carrying out mass abductions. A ransom of $1 million per hostage was demanded, but it's not clear whether any amount was paid prior to the release of the two hostages. While the US State Department and Haiti's National Police have confirmed the release, not much else has been said publicly. Christian Aid Ministries is asking anyone who has specific information about the hostages to be discreet with that information in order to protect those still being held. (Read more Haiti stories.)