The American organization Christian Aid Ministries has assured this Monday that the twelve missionaries who were released last week out of the total of 17 who were kidnapped in Haiti two months ago escaped from their captors “pushed” by God.
The organization’s spokesman, Weston Showalter, has indicated that the group put “their plans in the hands of God” despite the dangerousness of their escape plan. The missionaries prepared their belongings, along with bottles of water for the road, and took advantage of the shift change of their guards during the early morning of January 15 after managing to open the door that remained locked.
After escaping they headed to a mountain they saw in the distance, where they walked for hours through bushes and brambles. When it was about to dawn, the group met a person whom they asked for help.
In a press conference from Ohio, where the organization is from, its director, David Troyer, has detailed that the missionaries seem to be “reasonably well” since “God acted in a miraculous way” and allowed the hostages to escape.
During the press conference, the organization shared photographs of the 17 missionaries that were taken by members of the ‘400 Mawozo’ gang on October 16, after visiting an orphanage, according to local Ohio media ‘The Independent’.
Two of the kidnapped missionaries were released in late November, while three others were released in early December. The band asked for a ransom of one million dollars per hostage (850,000 euros).
The seizure of vehicles and all their occupants to obtain a ransom is one of the main activities used by the gang to finance its activities. In April, the gang kidnapped a group of Catholic clergymen, who were later released, it is unknown if they had previously rescued.
Haiti has one of the highest kidnapping rates in the world, as powerful criminal gangs exploit the state of lawlessness to earn money by paying ransoms. This year has been particularly serious, with almost 800 confirmed kidnappings from the beginning of the year to the end of October.
The surge came partly in the wake of the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in July, and amid violent fighting between rival factions fighting for control of the country in the face of a completely overwhelmed police force.