The missionaries and their relatives were taken two months ago exactly (Picture: EPA)
Twelve American and Canadian missionaries kidnapped by a notorious Haitian gang in October have been released, police said on Thursday.
The 400 Mawozo gang abducted the missionaries and their relatives on October 16 just after they had visited an orphanage in the suburb of Croix des Bouquets, just east of Port-au-Prince.
The group of 16 Americans and one Canadian became the longest-held hostages in the country. Their kidnapping drew global attention to the nation’s growing problem of gang abductions.
The group was made up of 12 adults and five children, including an 8-month-old infant. They were on a trip organized by Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries (CAM).
After the abduction, the ministry group, based in Berlin, Ohio, asked supporters to pray and to fast ‘to intercede for those who are still being held as well as those who have been released.’
Two of the hostages were released in late November, followed by three others in early December.
The final 12 hostages were found by authorities on a mountain called Morne à Cabrit, said police spokesman Garry Derosier.
The gang had asked for $17 million, or $1 million per person, to release the hostages. One of its leaders had threatened to kill the hostages if the ransom was not paid, the Miami Herald reported.
‘Join us in praising God that all seventeen of our loved ones are now safe,’ CAM said in a statement. ‘Thank you for your fervent prayers throughout the past two months.’
The circumstances surrounding the release were not immediately clear, including whether any ransom money was paid.
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