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28512: (news) Chamberlain: Kidnapped Canadian missionary freed in Haiti (fwd)
From: Greg Chamberlain <GregChamberlain@compuserve.com>
By Joseph Guyler Delva
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, June 25 (Reuters) - A Canadian missionary held
by kidnappers in Haiti for almost a week was freed after a $2,000 ransom
was paid, a Haitian police official said on Sunday.
The missionary, Ed Hughes, was released unharmed on Saturday night and
two people were taken into custody, judicial police commissioner Michael
"He was released by his captors after we conducted an operation in the
area where he was held," Lucius told Reuters.
Hughes was kidnapped on June 19 in an orphanage he runs in Cabaret, 12
miles (20 km) north of the capital Port-au-Prince.
The poorest country in the Americas had enjoyed a brief period of calm
following the February election of President Rene Preval, regarded as a
champion of Haiti's masses of poor.
Hughes had been a victim of crime before. Last year, most of his right
arm had to be amputated after he was shot by gunmen apparently intent on
kidnapping someone else at the mission.
Lucius said police were still looking for two suspects thought to be
the main figures behind a kidnapping spree in Cabaret.
Both suspects -- Desir Jean Tardieu, known as the "Joker," and
Peterson Cheristin, known as "Sonson" -- escaped from prison on April 8,
where they were being held on accusations they beheaded a witch doctor.
Hughes' abductors initially demanded $100,000 to free him.
More than 2,000 people have been kidnapped for ransom in the Caribbean
country over the past 2 years.
But armed gangs in some of the most violent shanty towns declared a
cease-fire during the February election.
The election was the first since former president Jean-Bertrand
Aristide was driven into exile by an armed revolt and mounting pressure to
quit in February 2004.
Police and officials in a Brazilian-led U.N. peacekeeping force that
has tried to keep factions supporting and opposing Aristide apart since his
ouster say they have noticed an increase in crime and violence in recent