A group of American and Canadian missionaries in Haiti abducted in October are finally safe after a daring escape that followed their release last week, according to the aid group for which they work.
The 12 were among 17 people abducted Oct. 16 after visiting an orphanage in Ganthier, in the Croix-des-Bouquets area.
Last week, Gary Desrosiers, spokesperson for Haiti’s National Police, PNH, confirmed their release in an interview with VOA Creole.
On Monday, officials with Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministry detailed their journey to safety, saying after their release, the 12 walked for kilometers at night and navigated using the stars. They also had an infant and other children with them.
“After a number of hours of walking, day began to dawn and they eventually found someone who helped to make a phone call for help,” said CAM spokesman Weston Showalter at a press conference. “They were finally free.”
After their harrowing journey, the 12 boarded a U.S. Coast Guard flight for Florida where they were reunited with the hostages who had been freed earlier.
Two of the hostages were freed in late November, and three were released earlier this month.
The kidnappers, a gang called 400 Mawozo, had initially demanded millions of dollars in ransom. It is unclear if any ransom was paid for the five who were released, but CAM Director David Troyer said the group had raised ransom money.
"Other people who sought to help us provided funds to pay a ransom and allow the negotiation process to continue," Troyer said during the press conference.
"After many days of waiting and no action on the part of the kidnappers, God worked in a miraculous way to enable the hostages to escape," Troyer said.
Some information in this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.