Everett woman released after kidnapping in Egypt

July 18, 2012
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A kidnapping earlier this week of two Haitian Americans in Egypt has led to the release of an Everett woman who was traveling with a Dorchester pastor and a group of American Haitians on a religious trip.

Lissa Alphonse, a 39 year old mother of two, did not speak with the press but her husband Donald expressed joy that his wife had been released and had not been harmed.

Michel Louis, 61, the pastor, was kidnapped with Alphonse in the Sinai peninsula.

According to the American State Department, the two Americans and an Egyptian tour guide had been placed under the protection of Egyptian security officials.

Their kidnapper, Jirmy Abu-Masuh, freed them after Egyptian officials promised him they’d release his uncle from prison.

Abu-Masuh said he was releasing those he had kidnapped because they had nothing to do with his dispute with Eyptian police.

Louis and Alphonse were photographed and shown to be well with Eyptian police in the Sinai city of El Arish.

Alphonse will be returning to Everett but her exact time of arrival remains unknown.

Louis and Alphonse had been among a group of touring American churchgoers from Haiti. They were visiting the Sinai and were headed next for Israel.

Senators John Kerry and Scott Brown both swung into action upon hearing of the news of the kidnapping.

With the aid of the State Department, they contacted Egyptian authorities who were able to have the kidnapper release the hostages.

The group of religious tourists was on their way to St. Catherine’s Monastery which is located at the foot of Mount Sinai.

Mt. Sinai, of course, is the place where Moses is said to have received the Ten Commandments from God.

The Sinai peninsula was captured by the Israeli’s following the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. In 1982, following the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty, the Israeli’s withdrew from the Sinai.

The Sinai, of course, is one of the religiously significant places in the world.

The kidnapping was unusual. Egyptian officials attributed it to the tumult going on in Egypt which recently threw out its long time dictator Hosne Mubarak.

Election were held recently in Egypt but there remains a great deal of chaos in the society since the overthrow of Mubarak and a return to more democratic values.