Haitian kidnappers have released 17 Americans, but want to recover more, charity said

MIAMI – An armed robbery and hostage situation in Haiti left 17 Americans and two Canadians hostages Friday, according to a statement by the Worldwide Free Lance Charitable Foundation. The missionaries, including missionaries from…

Haitian kidnappers have released 17 Americans, but want to recover more, charity said

MIAMI – An armed robbery and hostage situation in Haiti left 17 Americans and two Canadians hostages Friday, according to a statement by the Worldwide Free Lance Charitable Foundation.

The missionaries, including missionaries from the Seattle-based Lynnwood Gospel Rescue Mission, set out Nov. 15 from Haiti to build a school. They were heading for Florida.

A spokesperson for the Lynnwood Rescue Mission, Christy Welsh, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The statement says 18 of the victims have been released.

“The last of the hostages have now been released,” the statement said. “The fight is on to recover all the others.”

Investigators with the Haitian government and the FBI have been working throughout the night to secure the release of the remaining hostages, a Reuters report said.

The Lynnwood Gospel Rescue Mission describes itself as an international Christian humanitarian organization.

“Since our founding in 1975, we have assisted more than 60,000 people in 39 countries with unconditional love and immediate, life-changing care,” it says on its website.

The Lynnwood Gospel Rescue Mission said in a statement that the group members decided to visit Haiti after meetings with Canadian Minister of International Development Marie-Claude Bibeau.

A post on Lynnwood Gospel Rescue Mission’s Facebook page said the mission was preparing for a “long and difficult road ahead.”

The Lynnwood Gospel Rescue Mission’s missions include meals for the homeless, providing food for Haitian families recovering from the 2010 earthquake, constructing houses and providing for people with HIV/AIDS.

Today our WL Charitable Foundation is in the Holuouse area, Haiti, discussing the situation that took place yesterday,” the organization posted on Facebook Friday. “We know we can pray for the Haitian people and thank God that we were not there to witness the heinous acts of terror.”

Follow Justin Fox on Twitter at @justinewfox.

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