On Monday (Dec 20), the twelve missionaries who were abducted in Haiti and spent months in captivity told the story of their brave escape after it was announced they managed to free themselves last week.
According to Christian Aid Ministries, the missionaries navigated 10 miles through the foreign terrain using stars and had to endure “fierce brambles” and dense bushes through gang territory all while remaining silent the entire time.
"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 they had chosen to follow and left the place that they were held," church spokesman Weston Showalter said at a news conference in Ohio.
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The group, which included a married couple, a 10-month old baby, and children aged 3, 14, and 15, along with four adult men and two women, managed to evade "numerous guards" before traveling in the direction of a mountain they’d seen days earlier.
It wasn’t until finding someone with a phone around dawn, they were able to call authorities. That’s when they were later flown back to Florida on a US Coast Guard flight, Christian Aid Ministries said.
"With God's help, protection and leading, they quickly made their way through the night, they walked for possibly as much as 10 miles - it's a little bit hard to discern exactly how far the distance was, but for many miles, traveling through woods and thickets, working through thorns and briars," said Showalter.
The twelve weren’t the only ones abducted. Two other group members were freed in November, and another three in early December, although their identities remain have not been revealed.
The gang responsible is known as 400 Mazowo and was reportedly demanding a ransom of $1m (£740,000) for each of the 17 hostages, as it’s one of the main ways the criminal gang uses to finance itself.
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Unfortunately, the lack of infrastructure has made Haiti a hotbed for kidnapping. This year alone there have been nearly 800 kidnappings reported before the end of October.