US missionaries say 2 of 17 abducted in Haiti have been released – KXAN Austin

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FILE – This October 21, 2021 photo shows a sign outside Christian Relief Ministries in Titanian, Haiti, where 17 of its members were abducted by the 400 Mawozo gang. Two of the 17 kidnapped members of a missionary group have been released in Haiti and are safe, “at peace and care,” Ohio-based church organization Christian Aid Ministries said on Sunday, November 21, 2021. Photo/Matias Delacroix, File)

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) – Two of the 17 members of a missionary group who were abducted more than a month ago have been released in Haiti and are safe in “peace and care” located in Ohio. The church organization was announced on Sunday.

Christian Relief Ministries issued a statement stating that they could not provide the names of those who were released, why they were released, or other information.

The group said, “While this statement makes us happy, our hearts are with the 15 people who are still in detention.”

The missionaries were abducted by 400 Mawozo gangs on 16 October. The group, which consists of 16 US citizens and one Canadian, includes five children, one of whom is 8 months old. Haitian drivers were also kidnapped, according to a local human rights organization.

The leader of 400 Mawozo gangs threatened to kill the hostages if their demands were not met. Authorities said the gang demanded $1 million per person, although it was not immediately clear whether the children were included in the group.

The statement comes as Haiti struggles with a spike in gang-related violence and kidnappings, while the US government has recently urged US citizens to leave Haiti amid growing insecurity and a severe fuel shortage blamed by gangs blocking gas distribution terminals. Canada on Friday announced that it would withdraw all but essential staff from its embassy.

Fuel shortages have forced hospitals to turn patients away and paralyze public transport, with some schools closing and workplaces shortening hours.

Haiti is also struggling to recover from the July 7 assassination of President Jovenel Moise and a 7.2 magnitude earthquake in mid-August that killed more than 2,200 people and destroyed tens of thousands of homes.

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