Haitian rescue of two Canadian missionaries marks first release

Two Canadian missionaries who were kidnapped from Haiti on August 11 have been released unharmed, according to a U.S. missionary group on the ground. The missionaries, Kim Porter, 36, and Chloe Caldwell, 33, are…

Haitian rescue of two Canadian missionaries marks first release

Two Canadian missionaries who were kidnapped from Haiti on August 11 have been released unharmed, according to a U.S. missionary group on the ground. The missionaries, Kim Porter, 36, and Chloe Caldwell, 33, are the first of 23 who were held captive to return home following the mass kidnapping. The Holistic Center for Healing, a Toronto-based healthcare group for patients in need, confirmed that Ms. Porter and Ms. Caldwell had returned home after being released. From Haiti, where the duo had been serving as volunteers at a church, the two were flown to Toronto and are reunited with their families. While some of the group had also been held hostage by a different gang, it was uncertain whether the two had been released for being Christians or whether they were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. The Holistic Center for Healing said in a statement that “Missionaries and their families understand this unfortunate event was out of their control and are grateful for the grace, caring and intervention of their team, U.S. Government, local law enforcement and close friends.”

While a police spokesman, Lieutenant Marc-Antoine Drouin, told AFP that “no arrests have been made,” he also suggested that, following the massive spike in kidnap attacks in the region, an operation was underway to identify and catch the gang responsible. “We are going to track them down,” he said. Local Pastor Stephane Cabolin, of the Ascension Haitian Christian Church, said that after six days of being in the middle of kidnappers, it seemed as if the kidnappers had chosen to spare the missionaries. “They dropped us,” he said, adding that he and others had been beaten by the gunmen. “There are a lot of victims … But they didn’t shoot … That’s why they left us. They dropped us on a cliff.” Ms. Caldwell, who had been working with cataract surgery, was unharmed during the kidnapping and had been left blind after suffering an eye injury during the ordeal.

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