2 people from kidnapped missionary group freed in Haiti, U.S. organization says

Christian Aid Ministries, based in Ohio, says two of 17 abducted members of the missionary group have been freed in Haiti.

16 U.S. citizens, 1 Canadian and their Haitian driver abducted in October

Protestors call for the release of kidnapped missionaries during a demonstration on Oct. 19 near the missionaries' headquarters in Titanyen, north of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Christian Aid Ministries said Sunday that two of the abductees were released. (Joseph Odelyn/The Associated Press)

An Ohio-based church organization says two of 17 abducted members of a missionary group have been freed in Haiti.

Christian Aid Ministries issued a statement on Sunday saying the two "are safe, in good spirits and being cared for."

It said it could not give the names of those released, why they were freed or other information.

"While we rejoice at this release, our hearts are with the 15 people who are still being held," the group said.

The group from Christian Aid Ministries was kidnapped by the 400 Mawozo gang on Oct. 16. There are five children in the group of 16 U.S. citizens and one Canadian. Their Haitian driver was also abducted.

The leader of the 400 Mawozo gang has threatened to kill the hostages unless the gang's demands are met. Authorities have said the gang was demanding $1 million US per person, although it wasn't immediately clear that included the children in the group.

The U.S. government has urged U.S. citizens to leave Haiti because of the country's deepening insecurity and the severe lack of fuel. Canada announced on Friday it was pulling all but essential personnel from its embassy.

Global Affairs Canada said it is aware of reports that two of the 17 individuals kidnapped in Haiti were released.

"Canada takes this situation very seriously and continues to collaborate with Haitian and American policing authorities, as well as implicated [non-governmental organizations], on this incident," said Ciara Trudeau, a spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada, in an email. "Due to the provisions of the Privacy Act, no further information can be disclosed."