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3 more hostages released in Haiti, Christian aid group says

<i>Ralph Tedy Erol/Reuters</i><br/>Three more members of a group of 17 hostages kidnapped in Haiti in October were released Sunday night
Ralph Tedy Erol/Reuters
Three more members of a group of 17 hostages kidnapped in Haiti in October were released Sunday night

By David Shortell and Kylie Atwood, CNN

Three more members of a group of 17 hostages kidnapped in Haiti in October were released Sunday night, according to a statement from the US-based Christian Aid Ministries.

“We are thankful to God that three more hostages were released last night. Those who were released are safe and seem to be in good spirits. As with the previous release, we are not able to provide the names of the people released, the circumstances of the release, or any other details,” the statement said.

A young American child and their American mother were among the three missionary hostages released Sunday, according to a US official familiar with the matter.

The State Department welcomed the reports of their release.

“We welcome reports that three individuals held hostage in Haiti have been released. Due to operational and security considerations, we have no further comment,” a State Department spokesperson said.

Members of the group of 16 Americans and one Canadian had been working as missionaries when they were kidnapped by the Haitian gang 400 Mawozo while traveling by car northeast of the capital, Port-au-Prince, on October 16.

The hostages included an infant, a 3-year-old and a 6-year-old, as well as two young teenagers. All hail from Amish, Mennonite and other conservative Anabaptist communities across six US states and Ontario.

Two other hostages were released last month. Twelve of the 17 kidnapped remain in captivity.

No details on whether or not ransoms have been paid have yet emerged. The captors had demanded $1 million per hostage, Haitian Justice and Interior Minister Liszt Quitel previously told CNN.

Gang leader threatens to kill captive missionaries in Haiti if he doesn’t get what he wants

Kidnappings for ransom in Haiti are widespread and often indiscriminate, targeting rich and poor, young and old.

Rising crime has accompanied political instability in the country, with kidnappings spiking in the months after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moise, according to local human rights organization CARDH.

The 400 Mawozo group is particularly notorious for group kidnappings.

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CNN’s Maija Ehlinger and Caitlin Hu contributed to this report.

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