UPDATED: Michel Louis: Mattapan pastor, Everett woman are released by captors in Egypt
A Mattapan pastor and an Everett woman held by captors for days in Egypt have been released, according to Reuters.
Egyptian state television reported that the two Americans were released today, according to Reuters.
Pastor Michel Louis, 61, and Lisa Alphonse, 39, were kidnapped Friday.
The family of the Mattapan pastor is gathering at his Dorchester home after news of his release broke this afternoon.
Louis’ son Jean briefly spoke and broke down with tears in his eyes.
“I just want to be with my family, I want to hear my father,” he said before being embraced by supporters. “At the moment there is a lot of joy. I’m exuberant, I have no words to express.”
He went on to thank all the people who prayed for his family and his father. He also thanked people from California to Montreal who called or wrote of their support to his family.
As news initially spread of the hostages’ release, singing and clapping could be heard coming from Louis’ home.
Friends and well-wishers were stopping by, including Bishop Gideon Thompson of Jubilee Christian Church in Mattapan.
“We’re elated. The family is o overwhelmed with joy that they couldn’t speak for themselves,” he said. “We’re just really glad and thankful this situation came to a successful conclusion.”
Thompson said he was with Louis’ two sons at his church when they received word of the release from Sen. Scott Brown’s office. They then called the State Department to confirm the news, Thompson said.
Louis and Alphonse were part of a group missionary trip to Israel by way of Egypt when the incident occurred.
A Bedouin tribesman, Germy Abu Masouh, said he had kidnapped the people in central Sinai in protest at the jailing of his uncle on drug charges, according to Reuters. In an interview with the Associated Press, Abu Masouh said the hostages were being treated as guests and fed well and were allowed to use the phone. He also told the news agency that he would take more hostages until his uncle is released.
The group was on a bus in the mountains of Egypt when the hostage takers stopped the vehicle. Louis’ wife was also on the bus, but was not taken.
Sunday morning at Louis’ Mattapan church, Eglise de Dieu de la Pentecote, more than 100 parishioners prayed out loud and raised their hands.
Louis, whose picture was projected on the wall near the end of the service, was mentioned multiple times by church leaders.
“We are here this morning because we need a word, a word from God to bring us out of what we are going through,” one church leaders said to the crowd Sunday. “Ask God to give you strength because we do not know how long he’s in the situation.”
Louis’ son, Jean Louis, appeared on CNN Sunday morning and said his father was not aware of any risk in Egypt. He said he is concerned about his father’s health because he is a diabetic.
“We are concerned … but we’re in good faith,” Jean Louis said. “We just want to see our father get home and see our sister member get home also and we also want to see the tour guide come home, too. We want to see everybody come home safely.”