Christian Aid Ministries details missionary escape
At a news conference Monday, the Ohio-based missions group confirmed the 16 Americans and one Canadian kidnapped in Haiti are healthy and most have reunited with their families. The 400 Mawozo gang took the group hostage in October and released five of them before Dec. 6. The captors moved the 12 adults and five children multiple times and kept them mostly in small, barricaded rooms. The gang provided baby food for the young children, basic hygiene necessities, and sparse meals. Christian Aid Ministries spokesman Weston Showalter said the missionaries held daily prayer meetings and worship services. David Troyer, general director of Christian Aid Ministries, said his office held conference calls with the families involved twice each weekday during the two months the missionaries were in captivity. Troyer said the group will pause its missions to Haiti but not abandon ministry in the country.
How did they get away? On the night of Dec. 15, the 12 remaining captives found a way to open the door and snuck toward a mountain range, escaping the guards’ notice. The group carried the children through brambles, forest, and gang territory roughly 12 miles before day broke. A Haitian found them and helped them call the police. Later that day, the missionaries were on a Coast Guard flight to Florida to reunite with the five hostages previously released. Earlier reports indicated a Haitian driver was also kidnapped, but Troyer corrected that the driver was the Canadian missionary.
Dig deeper: Read Jamie Dean’s report about how Haitian churches have coped with rampant violence.
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