By Dan Murphy
Our story posted on YonkersTimes.com concerning the Dec. 16 release of 17 Christian hostages held for 60 days in Haiti, (http://yonkerstimes.com/what-happened-with-the-christian-us-hostages-in-haiti-were-they-released-or-freed-was-a-ransom-paid-where-was-the-calvary-the-us-army-rescue/) resulted in a high volume of emails and calls from our readers, and from interested Americans across the country.
On October 16, a group of missionaries from Christian Aid Ministries, CAM, were in Haiti serving the poor and spreading the word of God when they were taken hostage. Two hostages were freed on Nov. 20, and another three were released on Dec. 5, including a young boy, teenage girl and their mother who was forced to leave two of her children behind. On Dec. 16 CAM made the announcement that the remaining 12 hostages were back in the USA and in relatively good health.
Our story raised the question of whether the hostages escaped or were released? And was a ransom paid for their release?
One of our readers contacted us with information on this story. After a lengthy phone interview, we determined that this source had direct and detailed knowledge about what happened during Nov. and Dec. in Haiti, based on details that have never been published. Some of these facts we will share with you, and you will not find anywhere else.
But let us be clear, while we completely believe that this person was involved in helping free the Americans held hostage in Haiti, we have decided to withhold certain pieces of information that were shared with us, to protect this person and the people on the ground in Haiti and in the US, who helped secure their release.
The two biggest takeaways from this follow up story are that the hostages were freed by their captors and they did not escape. And that a ransom was paid for their freedom.
“This was a long, tortuous process, and a number of wild things happened during the 8 weeks,” said our source who we will call Emma. “Through intermediaries with a longstanding history of work in Haiti, contact was made and a dialogue started with the 400 Mawozo gang who was holding the hostages. A ransom was negotiated and paid to secure their release.”
“While many believe that the hostages escaped, they were allowed to leave by leaving a door partially open and the guard left, leaving them free to leave. And any Haitian who may have seen them on their long walk to freedom were instructed to leave them alone, and only to get involved and help them if asked. The guards were right there and saw everything and let them walk away.
Another one of our readers emailed us saying that the FBI was monitoring the situation closely on the ground in Haiti, based on an interview account from one of the hostages. “The missionaries saw planes circling above where they were held. These planes were FBI presence watching the situation. The missionaries confirmed they were FBI after the fact,” writes Anna.
“The ransom that was paid did not come from the US government, and it did not come from CAM who refused to pay a ransom. The ransom money came from a Good Samaritan, an American private donor who wanted to help and didn’t know the hostages nor the church,” said Emma.
Specific details about how much of a ransom was paid was not provided to us. According to published reports, the Gang was seeking a ransom of $17 Million, or $1 Million per hostage. Emma said that after negotiations were conducted over a ransom price, the Good Samaritan “gave almost all of what was asked for after the negotiations.”
Why did it take so long to secure the hostages release? Because of the lack of trust with the Haitian police. Many published reports have referred to the troubles with the Haitian police as the reason that many gangs in Haiti hold control and power over various parts of the country.
“There were also discussions about trying to rescue the hostages, but CAM didn’t want violence, and that was the best decision made by those who considered a military option and rescue. The best way to handle this, even though it took so long, was to negotiate with the hostages and get everyone freed without injury or death. And that is what happened,” said Emma.
“Sometimes in Haiti, gangs demand a ransom, receive payment and then demand more. 400 Mawozo demanded a ransom, kept in touch with intermediaries, and kept the hostages in relatively good health.
“When one hostage got sick, medication was obtained and provided, but when that person needed to be hospitalized, he was freed with his wife. They were the first two hostages to be released. The gang never asked for more, which happens frequently, and they ultimately kept their word and released the hostages.
“Most people with knowledge of the situation in Haiti never believed the narrative that the hostages escaped. That is not the way things happen in Haiti, and if they did escape, someone would have contacted the gang before they got to safety,” said Emma. “This gang is not about killing hostages. They run this like a business and were trying to get the transaction done.
According to published reports, after walking several miles, the hostages did ask a Haitian to use their phone so they could be rescued. For those of us who have read all reports on this matter, neither President Biden nor the U.S. Government took credit for the resolution and freedom of the 17 American hostages.
We have also not heard from CAM acknowledging that a ransom was paid, and their thanks to whoever it was who helped free 17 members of their church.
“The one issue that many of us, and our friends in Haiti have with CAM and their missionaries is that they should know not to bring young children into Haiti. It is simply too dangerous. I would never bring my children there. You can try and help the people, but leave young children at home,” said Emma.
Editor’s Note: We have received numerous emails from readers who propose that the hostages were freed with an act of God, and that is how they escaped. I would put it another way. Perhaps God intervened on their behalf and touched the heart of the Good Samaritan who paid the ransom. It is good news that they were all freed and are all home. And it’s a classic Christmas story.
Why hasn’t the media covered this story? Some believe that it is because the hostages are Christians, and that there is a lack of interest from the American public, and a reluctance from the media to report on it. We hope that is not the case. All 17 were American citizens, and deserve our interest, and yes, our prayers.
Thanks to our source for coming forward and for speaking the truth about what happened. And thanks for your involvement in winning their freedom.
And to the Good Samaritan who paid the ransom—thank you! And God Bless You! Another reason why we write this story and our proud to do so, is because the people involved, and the Good Samaritan wanted the truth to come out. And the truth is that a ransom was paid and that the hostages were freed.
By Dan Murphy