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All From US Missionary Group Freed in Haiti, Police Say | Michigan News

By EVENS SANON and PETER SMITH, Associated Press

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — The remaining members of a U.S. missionary group who have been kidnapped two months in the past in Haiti have been freed, Haitian police and the group mentioned Thursday.

The spokesman for Haiti’s National Police, Gary Desrosiers, confirmed to The Associated Press that the hostages had been launched, however didn’t instantly present further particulars.

“We glorify God for answered prayer — the remaining 12 hostages are FREE!” Christian Aid Ministries mentioned in an announcement. “Join us in praising God that all 17 of our loved ones are now safe.”

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The Ohio-based group mentioned it hopes to supply extra info later.

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“We’re feeling great,” mentioned Ron Marks, minister at Hart Dunkard Brethren Church in Hart, Michigan, whose members have been among the many hostages.

Carleton Horst, a member of the Hart congregation, mentioned church members obtained a textual content message Thursday morning from “someone connected to the situation” that all the hostages had been launched.

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A mom and 4 of her kids who belong to the church have been among the many hostages. Horst, who’s buddies with the household, mentioned the church is rejoicing and he’s “elated that that portion of things is finally over, just praise the Lord for that.”

The missionaries have been kidnapped by the 400 Mawozo gang on Oct. 16. There have been 5 kids in the group of 16 U.S. residents and one Canadian, together with an 8-month-old. Their Haitian driver additionally was kidnapped, in response to an area human rights group.

Two of the hostages have been launched in November, and three extra earlier this month. They weren’t recognized, however members of the Hart congregation advised native media in Michigan that two have been from Hart.

In addition to Michigan, the hostages are from Wisconsin, Ohio, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Oregon and Ontario, Canada, in response to the missionary group.

“Today is the day we have been hoping for, praying for, and working so hard to achieve,” mentioned Congressman Bill Huizenga, whose western Michigan congressional district consists of Hart.

“I want to thank members of the hostage negotiation team for their diligence in securing the safe release of all the hostages. This is a great day for families in Michigan and across the nation who have been worried about the safety of their loved ones,” Huizenga mentioned.

The chief of the 400 Mawozo gang had threatened to kill the hostages until his calls for have been met. Authorities have mentioned the gang was demanding $1 million per individual, though it wasn’t clear if that included the youngsters.

It remained unclear Thursday whether or not any ransom was paid or what efforts led to the hostages’ freedom.

Smith reported from Pittsburgh. AP author Anna Nichols in Lansing, Michigan, contributed to this report.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This materials might not be printed, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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