Two of the 17 Christian missionaries kidnapped last month by a gang in Haiti have been released.
Christian Aid Ministries, the organization supporting the missionaries, released a statement on its website on Sunday on the development.
“We have learned that two of the hostages in Haiti were released. We praise God for this! Only limited information can be provided, but we are able to report that the two hostages who were released are safe, in good spirits, and being cared for,” the statement read.
Due to security reasons, the organization said it cannot provide the names or current location of the two missionaries who have been freed.
“We cannot provide or confirm the names of those released, the reasons for their release, where they are from, or their current location. We ask that those who have more specific information about the release and the individuals involved would safeguard that information,” the statement added.
The group also encouraged ongoing prayer regarding the sensitive situation, remembering the 15 missionaries still in captivity.
“We encourage you to continue to pray for the full resolution of this situation. While we rejoice at this release, our hearts are with the fifteen people who are still being held,” the statement said.
The missionaries were on their way home from building an orphanage when the incident occurred in October, the Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries said in a message.
“This is a special prayer alert,” said a message on WhatsApp, a screenshot of which was seen by The Epoch Times. “Pray that the gang members would come to repentance.” The message also said that women and children were among those kidnapped.
The 400 Mawozo gang kidnapped the group—which also included some elderly people—in Ganthier, a commune that lies east of the capital of Port-au-Prince, Haitian police inspector Frantz Champagne told The Associated Press. The gang, whose name roughly translates to 400 “inexperienced men,” controls the Croix-des-Bouquets area that includes Ganthier, where they carry out kidnappings and carjackings and extort business owners, according to authorities.
The Christian group’s message stated that the mission’s field director is now working with the U.S. Embassy in Haiti. No other details were immediately available.
The U.S. State Department, in a statement to media outlets, confirmed it was aware of reports about the kidnapping.
“The welfare and safety of U.S. citizens abroad is one of the highest priorities of the Department of State,” the spokesperson said in a statement, without offering additional comment.
A few days later, the gang responsible demanded $1 million per person for the hostages.
“I swear by thunder that if I don’t get what I’m asking for, I will put a bullet in the heads of these Americans,” said Wilson Joseph, the suspected leader of the gang dubbed “400 Mawozo,” according to a video that was shared on social media.
Jack Phillips contributed to this report.