Two Americans escorting six U.S.-bound Haitian orphans were briefly detained over the weekend in a misunderstanding, Haitian and U.S. officials said Tuesday.
A State Department official confirmed that the Americans were prevented from leaving Haiti because officials at Port-au-Prince's airport were suspicious about the documents authorizing them to take the children out of the country.
A police officer and an official at Haiti's Ministry of Communications said four Americans — a woman and three men — along with seven Haitian children were taken Saturday to the police station near the airport.
After some hours, a U.S. Embassy official arrived with paperwork that allowed them to be freed, said the two officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to reporters.
The State Department official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said there were two Americans and six children, who were being taken to families in Minnesota.
It was not immediately possible to resolve the discrepancies in the numbers.
The U.S. officials said the Americans remain in Haiti with the children at a government nursery school and that embassy officials were helping to ensure there would be no problems with them leaving with the children.
The incident occurred after 10 U.S. Baptists were arrested trying to take 33 Haitian children across the border to the Dominican Republic without the proper paperwork.
The missionaries said the children were orphaned in the devastating Jan. 12 earthquake, but the AP has established that they all had parents who willingly gave their children up in hopes they would get an education and a better life.
A judge released eight of the missionaries last week, but leader Laura Silsby, 40, and her assistant, Charisa Coulter, 24, remain jailed as the investigating judge interviews officials at the orphanages the two visited before the quake.
A court hearing is scheduled Tuesday, the woman's lawyer said.
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