Missionaries abducted by a Haitian gang in October escaped their captors, according to the group’s Christian ministry organization. 

Twelve of the 17 members of the group reportedly evaded the notorious 400 Mawozo gang to find freedom. 

The Washington Post reported: 

The 12 missionaries prepared overnight — putting on their shoes, packing water in their clothes and stacking their mattresses in a corner of the room where they were held, Weston Showalter, a spokesman for the Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries, told reporters.

“When they sensed the timing was right, they found a way to open the door that was closed and blocked, filed silently to the path that they had chosen to follow and quickly left the place that they were held, despite the fact that numerous guards were close by,” he said.

Among the members of the group were a 10-month-old baby and three additional children. The group reportedly used the stars and a mountain for direction as they traversed 10 miles. 

ABC News reported that the group brought the baby and 3 year-old child, keeping the infant protected from the brush as they continued. 

“After a number of hours of walking, day began to dawn and they eventually found someone who helped to make a phone call for help,” Showalter said as he began to choke up. “They were finally free.”

Showalter said that the group was later taken to Florida via a Coast Guard flight.

ABC News added: 

They were not physically harmed by the kidnappers, Showalter said. He said the main physical challenges included the heat, mosquitoes and contaminated water for bathing, which led some of them to develop sores. Sometimes the young children got sick.

The missionaries got together several times a day for devotions and prayer, Showalter said, noting that at times they would sing with enough volume for one another to hear when they were not in the same room. 

The Post noted, “About halfway through their time in captivity, the missionaries set up a 24-hour prayer rotation. They talked and sang through the walls to encourage hostages from other groups, Showalter said.”

Showalter said, “The hostages spoke to the gang leader on several occasions, boldly reminding him of God and warning him of God’s eventual judgment if him and the gang members continue in their gangs.”

The ministry organization has said that the leaders of its group and the missionaries forgive the members of 400 Mawozo. 

“In our minds and theirs,” Showalter stated, “the true hostages are the hostage-takers.”

Following the press conference, a group of workers for Christian Aid Ministries came together to sing, “Nearer My God to Thee.” 

The twelve missionaries held captive for two months were released without harm. 

“The Christian mission organization, based in Berlin, Ohio, updated the status of the remaining missionaries Thursday morning at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time with thanks for answered prayers,” The Daily Wire noted. 

“We glorify God for answered prayer—the remaining twelve hostages are FREE! Join us in praising God that all seventeen of our loved ones are now safe. Thank you for your fervent prayers throughout the past two months. We hope to provide more information as we are able,” the statement said.

The Haitian gang that kidnapped 16 American missionaries and one Canadian missionary was demanding $17 million in ransom — $1 million per person — according to officials in October. 

“David Troyer, the organization’s general director, said people had given the group money to pay the $1 million per victim ransom demanded by the gang. He declined to say whether the organization ultimately paid money to the captors. The U.S. government has said that it does not pay ransom for hostages,” the Post noted. 

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