Twelve of the missionaries that were kidnapped and held for ransom in Haiti who were found last week apparently escaped on their own.
According to reporting by the BBC, the group of missionaries made their escape under the cover of night. “When they sensed the timing was right, they found a way to open the door that was closed and blocked, filed silently to the path they [had] chosen to follow and left the place that they were held,” said Christian Aid Ministries spokesman Weston Showalter during a press conference the group held in Ohio.
Showalter further detailed the escape of the group, which was comprised of four adult men and two adult women in addition to a married couple and three children aged three, 14 and 15 along with. Ten-month old baby. They made their way sighting a familiar mountain and using the stars as a guide. Quoting one of the freed captives, Showalter described the danger they were still in: “Two hours were through fierce brambles. We were in gang territory the whole hike.” They found someone with a phone as dawn set in to call for help, and soon after were picked up by authorities who got them onto a U.S. Coast Guard flight to Florida, where they were reunited with their families.
The 17 missionaries in total were kidnapped in October, with the 400 Mazowo gang holding them captive demanding $1 million each for their release. Through negotiations, three of the group were released in November and another two in December. David Troyer, director of CAM, said that “people who sought to help us provided funds to pay a ransom and allow the negotiation process to continue” in response to a question about the gang’s demands. He didn’t specify whether or not the ransom was paid.