2 missionaries kidnapped in Haiti released, ministry says
Seventeen missionaries, including five children, were kidnapped last month.
Two of the Christian missionaries who were kidnapped in Haiti last month have been released, according to the ministry.
Nineteen people -- including 17 missionaries, five of them children -- were kidnapped by a Haitian gang on Oct. 16 during an airport run, a source at the U.S. embassy told ABC News last month.
The Ohio-based ministry the missionaries are affiliated with, Christian Aid Ministries, announced in a statement Sunday that two of the hostages have been released and "are safe, in good spirits, and being cared for."
"We welcome reports that two individuals held hostage in Haiti have been released. We do not have further comment at this time," a White House official told ABC News.
The Haitian National Police also confirmed the release of the two hostages to ABC News.
The ministry could not provide the names of those released, the reasons for their release or their current location, according to the statement. Further details about the remaining hostages were not provided.
"We encourage you to continue to pray for the full resolution of this situation," the statement read. "While we rejoice at this release, our hearts are with the fifteen people who are still being held. Continue to lift up the remaining hostages before the Lord."
The Haitian government suspects the gang known as 400 Mawozo to be responsible for the abductions, the source at the U.S. embassy said last month. The FBI made contact with the 400 Mawozoa on Oct. 18 and was assisting in negotiations, the agency told ABC News.
The group, which included 16 Americans and one Canadian, was abducted while on a trip to an orphanage, according to the ministry. Haitian police inspector Frantz Champagne told The Associated Press that the 400 Mawozo gang kidnapped the group while they were in Ganthier, about 17 miles east of Port Au Prince.
The country is experiencing a rise in gang-related kidnappings, many demanding ransom, which stalled after the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse on July 7 and a 7.2-magnitude earthquake on Aug. 14 that killed more than 2,200 people.
The U.S. State Department issued a warning in August about the risk of kidnapping for random in Haiti. Haitian officials said the gang was demanding $1 million per head, but it is not clear if that demand included the children, the AP reported.
The 400 Mawozo has also been blamed for kidnapping five priests and two nuns earlier this year, according to the AP.
ABC News' Joshua Hoyos contributed to this report.
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