2 Americans being held in Haiti freed, government says

Authorities in Haiti believe that two Americans kidnapped last week near the Dominican Republic border have been freed. A woman and a man have been taken into custody, according to Agence France-Presse.

Haiti’s state prosecutor said they would be brought before a judge to determine charges against them.

The Americans were kidnapped along with a number of other missionaries from their small campsite after their cars broke down in the mountains near the border on March 6. A few days later, on the seventh, another 19 missionaries were freed. Officials in Haiti said that the group was taken as they were preparing to leave the region.

Nicole Perkins, who had worked at the campsite where the group was kidnapped, told NBC that the group made friends with locals along the road, and sometimes their car broke down on the side of the road. She said that the kidnappers always promised to drop the passengers off, and they would wait with them until a van could be brought over and show the group the way back to the camp. Then, the victims would be free to leave without ever having to pay the $3,000 ransom. They were never stopped by police, they said.

This is not the first time Perkins has seen the group made a ransom call. Shortly after the mission founded by the Baptist missionaries departed Haiti, they were contacted by a man in uniform who told them the local police were following them. He then suggested that they give him what they had so that it wouldn’t trigger an emergency response. They thought they were being followed, and handed over the money, which later turned out to be a fake, to the man and promised that he would look out for them as they continued to try to get to the Dominican Republic.

“They do something you don’t usually see from Haiti. They spend their time with people. They really know the locals and they know the language,” Perkins said. “So you can guess that they’re trying to get away from the authorities because they’re worried about the arrests or something like that.”

Read the full story at NBC News.


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