Remaining missionaries kidnapped in Haiti by gang released

A Haitian gang has released the remaining 12 hostages they had abducted — more than two months after their kidnapping, the Ohio-based religious group they work with announced Thursday.

“We glorify God for answered prayer—the remaining twelve hostages are FREE! Join us in praising God that all seventeen of our loved ones are now safe,” said a statement from Christian Aid Ministries. “Thank you for your fervent prayers throughout the past two months. We hope to provide more information as we are able.”

Haiti National Police Spokesman Gary Desrosiers also confirmed to NBC News that the hostages had been found safe, but would not say where they had been taken.

Seventeen people working with the group were kidnapped in October by the 400 Mawozo gang, which controls the Ganthier commune in the suburb of Port-au-Prince where the missionaries were taken.

Christian Aid Ministries had previously said that those who were kidnapped were sixteen U.S citizens and one Canadian citizen — six men, six women, and five children.

The missionaries were returning from an orphanage, an hour and a half from Christian Aid Ministries Haiti base and often visited by their staff, when they were taken.

The group, based in Millersburg, Ohio, repeatedly called for supporters to fast and pray for the safe release of the hostages, at one point earlier this month encouraging Christians to fast for three days.

In November, two of the missionaries were released, and another three were freed earlier this month.

Haitian officials said the group’s leader was demanding $1 million per hostage, totaling $17 million. A video circulating on social media, which a U.S. official said appeared to be legitimate, threatened to kill hostages if the ransom demand wasn’t met.

In November, two of the missionaries were released, and another three were freed earlier this month.

Haiti has faced a series of disasters over the years, and the last several months have been met with renewed hardships.

President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in July, and a 7.2-magnitude earthquake hit in August.

And on Monday, a truck carrying gasoline exploded in northern Haiti, killing at least 75 people and injuring dozens of others. The explosion occurred as Haiti struggles with a severe shortage of fuel and spiraling gas prices that recently forced hospitals to turn away patients, temporarily shut down schools and businesses.

The governments of the U.S. and Canada have urged their citizens to leave while they still can.

Suzanne Ciechalski, Mary Murray and The Associated Press contributed.

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