Kidnapped American Pastor Freed in Haiti; 17 Others Still Held Hostage

                               (Haiti's flag)

A 79 -year-old American pastor, Jean Pierre Ferrer Michel, who was kidnapped by the 400 Mawozo gang on October 3 has regained his freedom. A ransom of $550,000 was said to have been paid to secure his freedom.

Michel is an old member of Jesus Center in Delmas 29, Haiti. According to Haiti Libre, he was kidnapped by gunmen on his way from the church. The gunmen were said to have been dressed in various National Police of Haiti uniforms. Two other members of the church, Norman Weiner and Isabelle Devendegis, were also kidnapped.

While Devendegis was released, Weiner and Michel were still in the custody of the kidnappers although they reportedly paid a ransom. According to the Miami Herald on Tuesday, family members of Michel and two other members of the church initially paid $300,000 to secure their release. Thereafter, an additional $250,000 was said to have been paid on Monday for the release of Michel and Weiner. A communications consultant in Haiti, Délex Etienne, confirmed this statement on Twitter.

Michel’s daughter announced the release of her father on Tuesday. She also thanked those who helped to make the kidnap of her father and other members of the church public.

“They don’t talk about it, like they are talking about the case of the group of 17. But this man is an American citizen, too. It’s not the same attention that the 17 people who they abducted in Croix-des-Bouquets are getting,” a family friend of Michel told Miami Herald.

Some weeks ago, 17 missionaries (1 Canadian and 16 Americans) were kidnapped by the same gang in Haiti. The gang is demanding a ransom of $17million for their victims who are staff of Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries. Efforts are being made by the U.S and the Haitian government to secure their release.

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