Haiti

A view of Haiti from a single-engine plane overlooking a section of Port-au-Prince in February 2015.

Two of 17 people being held captive in Haiti have been released, according to the organization who sponsored the missions trip. 

Christian Aid Ministries, based in Holmes County, announced on its website Sunday the "two hostages who were released are safe, in good spirits and being cared for." 

The organization said it cannot provide any other information, including the identities of the released hostages and where they are from. 

"We ask that those who have more specific information about the release and the individuals involved would safeguard that information," CAM's statement read. 

On Monday, CAM said it rejoices at the hostages' release, but that they "continue to pray for the 15 who are still in captivity. This is the 38th day since the kidnapping took place." 

When reached by email Monday, CAM declined to provide further details, saying "the information you have requested is not information we are able to provide at this time." 

Sixteen Americans and 1 Canadian were abducted by 400 Mawozo, a Haitian gang, while doing missions work at an orphanage near Port-au-Prince on Oct. 16.

The gang has demanded a $1 million ransom for each prisoner.

A Haitian man who identified himself as the gang's leader said in a video posted to social media shortly after the abduction that he would kill "these Americans" if he doesn't get what he needs.

“I will unload a big weapon to each of their heads,” the gang leader, Wilson Joseph, said in the video.

Details on the weeks-long situation have been sparse, but a U.S. official in President Joe Biden's administration said earlier this month there is proof of life for some of the kidnapped.  

CAM, whose membership includes Amish, Mennonite and Anabaptist denominations, has worked in Haiti for decades as part of its global mission "to minister to physical and spiritual needs." The organization sent missionaries and aid to 133 countries in 2020, according to its website.

The organization resumed mission work in Haiti in 2020 after a nine-month hiatus due to gang violence and political unrest.

This hostage crisis comes during the impoverished island-country's turmoil that involves a fuel shortage, a natural disaster that killed thousands and political instability. 

Haiti's president, Jovenel Moise, was assassinated July 7, which some experts have said emboldened violent gangs.

A 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck in mid-August, killing more than 2,200 and destroying tens of thousands of homes. 

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