Haitian gang leader threatens to kill the kidnapped Americans in a new ransom demand video

Haiti is the poorest country in the Americas, and a surge in gang violence has displaced thousands of people. File Photo: AP

If he is not paid millions in ransom money, a Haitian gang leader has threatened to kill 17 kidnapped American and Canadian missionaries.

"I swear by thunder that if I don't get what I'm asking for, I will put a bullet in the heads of these Americans." the leader of the 400 Mawozo gangs that kidnapped the group claimed in a video released on YouTube.

Wilson Joseph, who wore a blue suit, a blue cap, and a huge cross around his neck, threatened Prime Minister Ariel Henry and the Haitian police head.

He continued, standing in front of open coffins that appeared to contain several members of his gang who had lately been killed: "I'm crying because of you. Water is what I scream. However, I'm going to make you cry blood."

Mr. Henry and the national police chief did not respond immediately. Still, the president announced on Thursday afternoon that the present national police chief, Leon Charles, had resigned and was being replaced by Frantz Elbe.

Mr. Henry stated, "We would like for public peace to be restored, that we return to normal life and that we regain our way to democracy,"

Authorities stated earlier this week that the gang was seeking $1 million (£720,000) for each person kidnapped, but it was unclear whether this included the five youngsters, one of whom is eight months old.

A total of 16 Americans and one Canadian have been kidnapped from Christian Aid Ministries in Ohio.

They were kidnapped with their Haitian driver at Croix-des-Bouquets over the weekend, just eight miles outside of the capital Port-au-Prince.

The missionaries' families come from Amish, Mennonite, and other conservative Anabaptist communities in Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Oregon, and Ontario, Canada, according to Weston Showalter, a spokesman for Christian Aid Ministries.

"God has given our loved ones the unique opportunity to live out our Lord's command to love your enemies." they said in a letter he read aloud from the families.

He encouraged the public to join him in praying for the kidnappers and others who have been victimized, saying: "Please keep these families in your prayers. They're in a precarious situation."

Christian Aid Ministries later claimed it would not comment on the film "until those directly involved in obtaining the release of the hostages have determined that comments will not jeopardise the safety and well-being of our staff and family members."

According to UNICEF, the number of women and children kidnapped in Haiti in the first eight months of this year has topped the tally for the entire previous year.

Publish : 2021-10-22 10:34:00

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