The ex-hostages are doing well and have left Haiti, according to the missionary agency



Unidentified people depart en route to the airport from the headquarters of Christian Aid Ministries in Titanyen, north of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on December 16, 2021. Twelve remaining members of a US-based mission group who were kidnapped two months ago have been released, according to the group and Haitian police. (AP Photo / Odelyn Joseph)

All former hostages of a US-based missionary group kidnapped in Haiti were expelled from the country after a two-month ordeal, the head of their Ohio-based mission organization said on Friday, as he also offered a offer forgiveness to their captors.

David Troyer, chief executive of Christian Aid Ministries, said in a video statement that an American-flagged plane left the Caribbean country on Thursday afternoon carrying the last 12 kidnapped missionaries, hours after their release earlier today .

“Everyone, including the 10-month-old baby, the 3-year-old boy, and the 6-year-old boy, seem to be doing pretty well,” Troyer said.

The latest releases came two months to the day after the group of 16 Americans and one Canadian – including five children – were kidnapped by the 400 Mawozo gang, who initially demanded millions of dollars in ransom. The other five had been released earlier.

Troyer did not comment on the circumstances of the release, such as whether a ransom had been paid or whether a rescue effort had been involved, but expressed his thanks to the “US government and to all who assisted in the return in all. safety of our hostages “.

“Thank you for understanding our desire to pursue non-violent approaches,” he added, without elaboration.

Based in Berlin, Ohio, Christian Aid Ministries, or CAM, is supported and endowed by conservative Anabaptists, a range of Mennonite, Amish, and allied groups whose characteristics include non-resistance to evil, uniformity, and separation from the traditional society.

In keeping with Anabaptist teaching, which emphasizes forgiveness, Troyer offered conciliatory words to the kidnappers.

“A word to the kidnappers: we don’t know all the challenges you face. We believe that the violence and oppression of others can never be justified. You have caused a lot of suffering to our hostages and their families, ”he said. “However, Jesus taught us by word and by his own example that the power of forgiving love is stronger than the hatred of violent force. Therefore, we grant you forgiveness.

Troyer said the hostages had “prayed for their captors and told them about God’s love and their need to repent.”

The missionaries were abducted on October 16 shortly after visiting an orphanage in Ganthier, in the Croix-des-Bouquets region, where they verified that he had received help from CAM and played with the children, a declared Troyer.

“As they became aware of what was happening at the time of the capture, the group began to sing the refrain: ‘The angel of the Lord encamps around them who fear him, and delivers them,'” said Troyer, citing the biblical book of Psalms. “This song has become one of their favorites, and they sang it several times during their days in captivity.”

The hostages have stayed together as a group throughout, he said, praying, singing and cheering on each other.

Troyer said CAM workers were aware of the dangers in Haiti, where gang activity and kidnappings are on the rise.

But the organization often works in such perilous places precisely because “this is usually where the greatest needs are located,” he added.

CAM hopes to continue working in Haiti, Troyer said, while acknowledging that it will need to strengthen security protocols and “better inform our people of the dangers involved.”

Authorities said 400 Mawozo demanded a ransom of $ 1 million per person, although it was not clear whether this included children. The gang leader had threatened to kill the hostages if his demands were not met.

Also on Friday, a meeting bringing together representatives of 14 countries, various international organizations and Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry produced broad commitments to address the security and political and economic situation in the impoverished Caribbean nation, according to a senior US diplomat.

Brian A. Nichols, assistant secretary in the State Department’s Office of Western Hemisphere Affairs, told a conference call that the US government plans to send experts to train the National Police SWAT team. Haitian.

In another pledge, Japan pledged $ 3 million in aid, including the construction of housing and police facilities.

Nichols said there had been discussions about the potential deployment of some countries’ police to Haiti for activities such as training or mentoring local officers, although this would require more discussion first. He said there was broad agreement that the security situation in the country is a police challenge, not a military one.

Nichols did not provide details on how the hostages were freed, citing respect for their privacy. Asked about rumors that a ransom has been paid, he declined to comment on anything other than saying “the United States government does not pay ransom for hostages.”


The Associated Press’s religious coverage receives support from the Lilly Endowment via The Conversation US. The AP is solely responsible for this content.

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