PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI — According to an Ohio-based religious group, the gang holding missionaries’ hostages in Haiti has released three more. Twelve others remain captive.
“The people were released on Sunday, and they are safe and in good spirits,” Christian Aid Ministries reported.
Two of the seventeen hostages kidnapped in mid-October were released on November 21 by the 400 Mawozo gang.
Among the 16 U.S. citizens and one Canadian who made up the group were 12 adults and five children, including an 8-month-old.
The 400 Mawozo gang leader has threatened to kill the hostages if his demands are not met. According to authorities, the gang wanted $1 million per person, although it wasn’t clear whether that included the children.
“We are thankful to God that three more hostages were released last night,” said the statement from Christian Aid Ministries, an Anabaptist mission organization based in Berlin, Ohio. “As with the previous release, we are not able to provide the names of the people released, the circumstances of the release, or any other details.”
The group called on supporters to fast and pray Monday through Wednesday “in order to pray for those who are still detained as well as for those who have been released.”
An ongoing spike in kidnappings has been taking place in Port-au-Prince and throughout Haiti since the July 7 assassination of the country’s president, the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in mid-August, and tight fuel supplies.
An online video posted on Sunday by known gang leader “Ti Lapli” warned people against crossing the street in the near future because of violent clashes between rival gangs in Martissant.
“Insecurity has increased,” the gang leader said.
“Martissant residents should stock up on food and gas since the next few days will be difficult… We will not remain passive in the face of those who would destroy us.”