Workers with Christian Aid Ministries said a ransom paid by an unidentified person led to the release of three missionaries in Haiti who were among the group taken hostage in October, the Associated Press reported. The Ohio-based mission organization announced Dec. 16 that all remaining hostages had been freed.
According to later-released accounts from CAM workers and those taken hostage, the unspecified ransom amount was supposed to free the entire group, but internal conflicts in the Mawozo gang reportedly stalled the release of the others, AP reported.
While CAM reportedly has a no-ransom policy, the organization did eventually agree to allow a third party to negotiate with the gang, AP said, and an individual with no affiliation to CAM made a ransom payment.
‘Turned over to another party’
“There was a donor who offered to take the negotiations and deal with the situation, and so CAM accepted that offer, and it was turned over to another party to deal with it,” said Philip Mast, a CAM executive committee member, in a recent talk at Mount Moriah Mennonite Church in Crossville, Tennessee, AP reported. “Yes, there was ransom paid, but I don’t think (the gang members) had the intention of releasing the prisoners.”
Accounts from staff and former hostages are archived at PlainNews.org. A CAM spokesperson has declined to comment further on the case.
The group of 17 missionaries, which included five children, were taken hostage Oct. 16 by the 400 Mawozo gang. The group’s Haitian driver was also taken captive. Two missionaries were released in November before three others were freed Dec. 5. About a week later, all of the remaining hostages were free.