Haiti freed 3 women, 2 US missionaries

Written by Staff Writer by Asif Shahzad, CNN

Two US missionaries and two local women held hostage for nearly four months in Haiti have been released.

Hundreds of Americans volunteered at a nonprofit Christian center called Sodertalje Village before the men were kidnapped last October, according to a statement released by the US State Department.

The women, Akrim Dorcy and Gwendolyn Lise, were released early Saturday after Canadian diplomats and an FBI agent arrived on the scene to negotiate their release, according to a friend of the women, and the local pastor who represented them.

The three women spent the month of November in a cell and were released “not by their captors but by Canadian and United States officials,” according to the friend, Carl Graham.

“They’re medically cleared medically. There was no torture involved. There were no threats of violence. There was no physical brutality,” he said.

Police in Haiti declined to immediately answer questions about the case. But LaFrance Jean, the mayor of Osolin, a town outside the capital of Port-au-Prince, said the freed women were brought to a local police station where they were detained for two days, while several suspects are being held.

The women’s release comes a day after Haiti approved a UN force to aid with security in the country, including on the border with Cuba. The UN mission for peacekeeping in Haiti (MINUSTAH) won the Security Council’s unanimous approval for the force after the US vetoed the mission in December because of the government’s offer to cooperate with MINUSTAH following the abduction.

In an interview from prison, the two Americans who were kidnapped, Alcee Lee and Boileau John McGee, said they were at first scared to be taken by people they had never met before, and that it was difficult to tell the truth when interrogated.

Both men had been previously released from jail. Lee was previously charged with conspiracy to murder and arms possession, while McGee was sentenced to 14 years in prison for carrying a concealed firearm while armed.

Both men told CNN they went to Haiti to help bring healthcare to rural areas.

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