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Kidnapped Missionaries Escaped From Haitian Gang, Ohio Missionary Group Says

Haiti Kidnapped Missionaries
Odelyn Joseph/AP
Unidentified people board a vehicle departing to the airport from the Christian Aid Ministries headquarters at Titanyen, north of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Dec. 16, 2021. Twelve remaining members of a U.S.-based missionary group who were kidnapped two months ago have been freed, according to the group and to Haitian police. (AP Photo/Odelyn Joseph)

Captive missionaries in Haiti found freedom last week by making a daring overnight escape, eluding their kidnappers and walking for miles over difficult, moonlit terrain with an infant and other children in tow, according to the agency they work for. Officials with the Christian Aid Ministries, the Ohio-based agency that the captive missionaries work for, detailed their journey to safety in a press conference Monday.

17 members of the group — 12 adults and five minors — were kidnapped in mid-October by the 400 Mawozo gang shortly after visiting an orphanage in Ganthier. The gang had demanded ransom for the group. Five of the hostages were previously released before the remaining 12 escaped last week.

The remaining members of the kidnapped group found freedom by breaking out of the house they were being held in during the night.

“With God’s help, protection and leading, they quickly made their way through the night. They walked for possibly as much as 10 miles – it’s a little bit hard to discern exactly how far the distance was – but for many miles, traveling through woods and thickets, working through thorns and briars,” said Ministries spokesman Weston Showalter.

All 17 kidnapped missionaries and one additional family member.
Christian Aid Ministries
All 17 kidnapped missionaries and one additional family member.

Ministries General Director David Troyer said although Haiti presents dangers, they will not permanently end their work in the country.

“We do not want to abandon the Haitian people in what is perhaps their greatest hour of need. There will be a pause no doubt. We will be seeking direction from God and counsel from others to us help chart the course for the future.”

Troyer said the missionaries were helping children go to school, providing support for the elderly and widows, distributing medicine and food and rebuilding homes destroyed by the recent earthquake.

Abigail Bottar is a junior at Kent State University. She is pursuing a major in political science with a concentration in American politics and minors in history and women's studies. Additionally, Abigail is starting her second semester copy editing for The Burr.