MEXICO CITY — Three more hostages from a group of 17 missionaries kidnapped in Haiti have been released, the American Christian charity they were with said on Monday. Their release brought the total number of people freed to five.
In a statement on Monday, Christian Aid Ministries said that the three people released “are safe and seem to be in good spirits.”
The organization did not provide their names, ages or the circumstances of their release, including whether a ransom had been paid. In the past, the group had asked for discretion to protect the hostages still being held.
“We would like to focus the next three days on praying and fasting for the hostages,” the statement read. The group continued, “We long for all the hostages to be reunited with their loved ones. Thank you for your prayer support.”
Two hostages from the Ohio-based charity were released on Nov. 21.
The kidnapped group, which included 16 Americans and one Canadian, was taken in October by a gang called 400 Mawozo, in a neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital. Swaths of the city have come under control of criminal groups amid the escalating political and economic crisis that followed the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, in July.
Among those kidnapped were five children. Kidnapping has become an increasingly common practice for Haitian gangs, who have targeted even students going to school and pastors delivering sermons.
The 400 Mawozo gang, which is well-known for orchestrating mass kidnappings, had initially demanded a ransom of $1 million per person, although that was widely viewed as a starting sum for negotiations. It is not clear what, if any, money was paid for the five people released so far.