Christian aid group releases three workers after months in captivity in Haiti

A Christian humanitarian aid group says three more of its workers have been released in Haiti after being held captive for nearly two weeks.

The International Christian Concern said on Wednesday that 33-year-old Salvadoran Fernando Monzon-Rodriguez, 43-year-old Norbert Renaud, and 30-year-old Ghislaine Chaugeon were released on Monday.

Monzon-Rodriguez was the leader of the group’s Haiti chapter and was working in the capital city of Port-au-Prince for Winterspring when he was captured.

“He would preach a sermon on the [city] and then live there with the neighbors so he could be closer to God,” volunteer Pastor Felipe Pierre said about Monzon-Rodriguez.

Pierre and his wife have been with him as part of his rescue team to give food and water to his friends. He said it has been “very difficult” to let his friends go because they were like family, according to the Christian News Group.

The group was delivering tarps and sandbags to residents who were affected by the August 7 earthquake when their convoy was ambushed on August 3 by an armed group. The caravan of 30 vehicles were traveling from the country’s south to the capital of Port-au-Prince.

There were 15 Americans, six Dutch, two Canadians, one from Mexico, and one member of Brazil’s far north public security forces among the group.

“We are thankful that Pastor Salvador and the other hostages were released safely after their safety could be guaranteed,” ICC Regional Director Mike Pryce-Tharp said. “We regret the loss of life of our colleague Santiago Volsecruz, who was killed during the attack on August 3, and our sympathies go out to his family and friends.”

Church officials in the Netherlands, Canada, Costa Rica, and Mexico were all notified of the disappearance but could not help until the hostages were released.

Several of the workers were injured in the attack and one is in serious condition. The embassy was notified of their safe release on Wednesday.

Haiti’s violence and crime has been an issue over the past few years. Last week, President Jovenel Moise said the number of security personnel would be increased by 8,000.

“There are three jailitentiaries in the country and we are going to reduce that to two. We need more manpower in the prisons so that we can stop crime in our country,” Moise said during a speech in Akateye-Insan.

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