Missionaries kidnapped in Haiti: what happened and when were they released?

The Haitian national police have confirmed that all 17 members of a North American Christian missionary group kidnapped two months ago have now been released. Five had previously been released, but the remaining 12 were found on the outskirts of Port au Prince, the capital of Haiti.

Officials have yet to say whether a ransom was paid to secure their safe release, but the The United States Government Does Not Pay Ransom Fees, for fear of encouraging further kidnappings.

The two months of hostage captivity shed light on the precarious situation in Haiti where criminal gangs took power in the capital after the assassination of former President Jovenel Moise in July.

The 17 hostages were freed in Haiti

In October the 400 mawozo gang, who would control the commune of Ganthier, where the missionary workers were captured, took 17 people hostage – six men, six women and five children. the New York Times reports that the 12 recently released hostages will travel to Miami, but the U.S. Embassy in Haiti has so far declined to comment on the situation.

The majority of those kidnapped were Americans, with a Canadian citizen among them. They worked for an Ohio-based organization called Christian Aid Ministries who organizes missionary trips.

“We glorify God for answered prayer – the remaining twelve hostages are FREE! Join us in praising God who all seventeen of our loved ones are now safe“wrote Christian Aid Ministries in a declaration.

“Thank you for your fervent prayers over the past two months. We hope to provide more information as we can.”

What is the current situation in Haiti?

Back in april ten people were kidnapped in a town called Croix-des-Bouquets, just north of Port-au-Prince. This group included four Catholic priests and two French citizens and was also reportedly executed by the 400 Mawozo gang.

In recent years, the public security situation in Haiti has become increasingly precarious, with kidnappings and violent attacks becoming more frequent. Talk to NBC News in October, Daniel Foote said: “The gangs run Port-au-Prince. It’s under their control.

Foote was previously a United States special envoy to Haiti, but resigned to protest President Biden’s refusal to grant refugee status to Haitians traveling to the United States on humanitarian grounds. In September a few 28,000 Haitians gathered under a bridge in Del Rio, Texas, hoping to escape the increasingly dangerous situation in the capital.

The assassination of former President Moise has left a void in the country’s political and social structures and several violent gangs have moved in to fill the gap. Gangs mainly control numerous supply routes inside and outside Port-au-Prince and were able to accumulate the depleted reserves of fuel, medical supplies and other resources that remain in the capital.