The organization said an unspecified ransom was provided but did not describe the money as directly leading to the release of the hostages. Instead, David N. Troyer, managing director of Christian Aid Ministries, said that “after several days of waiting and no action on the part of the kidnappers, God miraculously worked to allow the hostages to go. escape”.
Some people, who have not been identified, “provided funds to pay a ransom and allow the negotiation process to continue,” Mr. Troyer said. “We cannot say anything more about these negotiations.”
A State Department spokesperson declined to comment on the episode, but noted that the US government had not paid a ransom. A person familiar with the negotiations said a third party paid the ransom, not the US government.
Pierre Espérance, a prominent human rights defender in Haiti, said missionaries’ description of their experience was very unusual – mass kidnappings in the past have been resolved with the payment of a ransom.
Three recent crises seize Haiti
Kidnappings have become the main security threat in Haiti over the past year, as the country sinks deeper into economic and political crisis. Faced with a power vacuum following the death of President Jovenel Moïse in July, and with a rapidly shrinking legal economy, gangs in the capital Port-au-Prince are increasingly turning to kidnappings for ransom to finance themselves, even targeting pastors in their churches. and doctors battling the coronavirus pandemic.
The gang that kidnapped the Christian Aid Ministries group also held other hostages in the same building, Mr Showalter said, and the missionaries tried to talk to them through walls or share food and drink. water with them. The group sang, prayed and recited Bible verses throughout the days and nights.
The kidnappers provided “large amounts of baby food” to small children, he said, and adults were given small portions of food, including half a hard-boiled egg or rice and beans with a sauce. with fish. They had limited access to clean drinking water and some hygiene items, but the water they bathed in was “severely contaminated,” he said, and some people developed “festering wounds. “.