US religious group claims Haitian gang frees 3 hostages

PORT AU PRINCE – An Ohio-based church group announced Monday that a violent gang in Haiti has freed three more hostages, while 12 others remain kidnapped.

The Christian Aid Ministries statement said the people were released in Haiti on Sunday and are “safe and appear to be in a good mood.” The group did not provide any further details.

On November 21, the religious organization announced that the gang of 400 Mawozo had freed the first two hostages from a group of 17 kidnapped in mid-October. There are 12 adults and five children in the group of 16 US citizens and one Canadian, including an 8 month old.

The leader of the 400 Mawozo gang has threatened to kill the hostages if his demands are not met. Authorities said the gang was after $ 1 million per person, although it was not immediately clear the children were part of the group.

“We are grateful to God that three more hostages were released last night,” said the statement from Christian Aid Ministries, an Anabaptist missionary organization based in Berlin, Ohio. “As with the previous version, we are unable to provide the names of those released, the circumstances of the release or any other details.”

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The group reiterated its call for supporters to dedicate Monday to Wednesday days of prayer and fasting “to intercede for those still detained as well as those who have been released.”

The release comes amid a continued rise in kidnappings in the capital of Port-au-Prince and elsewhere in Haiti, which is struggling to recover from the July 7 presidential assassination of a magnitude earthquake. 7.2 that hit in mid-August and a severe fuel shortage. .

On Sunday, a gang leader known as “Ti Lapli” posted a video on YouTube warning people not to cross in the coming days the community of Martissant, which has been the scene of violent clashes between warring gangs.

“Insecurity has increased,” said the gang leader. “I invite the inhabitants of Martissant to stock up on food and gasoline. The next few days will be difficult … We will not stand idly by in the face of those who try to destroy us. “

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Smith reported from Pittsburgh.

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