US-based aid workers kidnapped in Haiti

AFP/Getty Images A group of 10 kidnapped aid workers from the US-based Christian group Samaritan’s Purse were released on Friday in Haiti, the charity says. Samaritan’s Purse said on Facebook and Twitter that the…

US-based aid workers kidnapped in Haiti

AFP/Getty Images

A group of 10 kidnapped aid workers from the US-based Christian group Samaritan’s Purse were released on Friday in Haiti, the charity says.

Samaritan’s Purse said on Facebook and Twitter that the 10 were freed but their exact location and conditions of their release were unknown.

The raid came as Haiti mobilised its national police force and the army to help the government find the head of the US-based Christian rescue group founded by Franklin Graham, who is the evangelist son of the Christian evangelist Billy Graham.

Three hostages, all workers from a different US-based rescue group, Hope International Church, were reported abducted along with seven others from a port in Port-au-Prince on Thursday night. The others kidnapped from the All Saint Carnival boat were from Amerada Hess.

The police did not report finding any survivors.

“The national police wants a reliable investigation so we ask for the media and all your help to help unearth the truth, more so in light of the truth that there will be consequences for criminals,” Prime Minister Jean-Henry Ceant tweeted on Thursday.

Members of Hope International Church told the newspaper Jérôme Emanuele Nouvelle the raiders snatched members of their boat off the port of La-Couturier, east of Port-au-Prince. They said the raiders freed one of the men but captured the others, who were based in Florida.

They said that they would press charges against the attackers. They said they have not contacted the United States Department of State, where Samaritan’s Purse and its Christian partners are registered.

Graham tweeted that the kidnapping was a “sad day for our many Haitian and American friends”. He added: “We will work as hard as we can to do whatever is humanly possible to bring our people home as soon as possible. God bless all the people of Haiti, and we ask that you pray for these lost souls tonight. – Franklin”

Hope International Church has existed for more than a quarter-century in Haiti and also operates in the Dominican Republic and the US.

The spokesman for the US Embassy in Haiti, Philip Carrington, said the embassy has been in contact with the Haitian government on the matter. “We are all praying for the hostages and families during this difficult time,” he said.

The US embassy did not immediately respond to questions about the identity of the seven other aid workers kidnapped.

Graham founded Samaritan’s Purse in 1977 and has expanded its humanitarian missions throughout the world, calling them his ministry’s “far-flung family”. Since 1994, Samaritan’s Purse has put together convoys to deliver aid to Africa, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Colombia, Thailand, the Philippines and Iraq.

The aid group recently deployed a relief team to Haiti for Hurricane Michael and held a gathering of Christian workers last month in southern Florida. Some of them live in Louisiana.

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