Matt Bush, FISM News
At a 10 a.m. press conference Monday, it was revealed that the final 12 abducted missionaries in Haiti escaped from the gang that was holding them hostage. Before the press conference, it was assumed that a deal was struck, and the missionaries were released by the gang.
Prior to the evening of Dec. 15, five of the 12 missionaries had already been released. Reports were that the first two missionaries released were a married couple and were let go for humanitarian concerns as one of them was seriously ill. There are still no details surrounding the conditions of the three who were released on Dec. 5.
A video released shortly after the kidnapping showed that the gang was asking for $17 million in ransom money; and a recent CNN article, along with rumors in Haiti, seemed to allude to the fact that a ransom was paid. These new details about a nighttime escape, however, indicate that perhaps no ransom was required.
At the press conference, a spokesman for Christian Aid Ministries (CAM) described the details surrounding the daring escape made by the remaining 12 captives. The spokesperson continually used the words “prayer” and God” to refer to the way the flight to freedom happened and the ministry’s belief that it was God who orchestrated the escape.
The group included a 10-month-old baby, 3-year-old boy, 6-year-old boy, and 14-year-old girl.
The situation described in the press conference was like something out of a movie. According to CAM, the group saw their opportunity as a God-ordained moment, broke through a locked door, and then began making their way through briars and brush in rural Haiti. They stayed out of sight and off of any paths that might put them in contact with the gang that had kidnapped them as they made their way through an area known as a hotspot for the 400 Mawozo gang.
The group estimates they walked up to 10 miles through parts of Haiti that were nothing but branches and briars until they met someone who provided them a phone to call for help. In the words of the group’s spokesperson, as he fought through tears, “They were finally free!”
The missionaries were flown to Florida on a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter and then were reunited with the five hostages previously released. During the press conference, which can be seen here, there are photos of the reunited group including, according to Christianity Today, a video of the group singing a song that inspired them during their captivity.
The group was reported to have been moved around several times during their captivity, but they remained together the entire time. Weston Showalter, the spokesperson for CAM, reported that the hostages appear in good health and that they were given small food portions to survive throughout the ordeal.
Throughout their time with the gang, the group prayed and sang worship songs together, sometimes offering prayer and encouragement to other kidnapping victims taken hostage during their stay.
While more details will come out in the coming days and weeks, it is nothing short of a miracle that a group like the 12 who were being held captive were able to make such a daring nighttime escape.
CAM has said that they will not abandon their work in Haiti even after this ordeal, and a message just a couple of days ago included a word of forgiveness to their kidnappers.