Three priests who were kidnapped in Haiti on April 11 have been freed, according to Vatican News.
The release on Friday, combined with the liberation of a lay person earlier this week, leaves two other priests, two nuns, and two of their relatives still in captivity.
The group was on its way to attend the installation of a parish priest when they were kidnapped in the town of Croix Les Bouquets, northeast of the capital, Port Au Prince.
There is a ransom demand for US$1 million, plus reparations from the French government, which was the colonial power in Haiti until independence in 1803.
One woman who was ill was released Monday.
The kidnappers, members of a gang called 400 Mawozo, are threatening to starve those they are still holding.
News of the release came on Friday, which was the third day the Haitian Church suspended all the activities of its institutions. Masses were offered for those still captive, and church bells tolled to focus attention on their plight. Aside from hospitals and health centers, all Catholic institutions were asked to close.
Haiti’s President Jovenal Moise vowed to continue efforts until all are released.
The United Nations says kidnapping in Haiti has risen by 200% in the last year.