Haiti gang leaders threaten to kill kidnapped American missionaries

Haiti gang leaders threaten to kill kidnapped American missionaries


A Haitian who identified himself as the leader of the gang that kidnapped a group of American and Canadian missionaries said on a video posted on YouTube Thursday that he would be willing to kill “these Americans” if he doesn’t get what he gets needs.

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A Haitian who identified himself as the leader of the gang that kidnapped a group of American and Canadian missionaries said on a video posted on YouTube Thursday that he would be willing to kill “these Americans” if he doesn’t get what he gets needs.

The spokesman in the video, dressed in a purple suit, can be identified as the man known in Haiti by the code name Lamo Sanjou, the leader of the 400 Mawozo gang that authorities say was behind the abduction of the missionaries over the weekend.

Also read | Haiti gang demands $ 17 million ransom for kidnapped missionaries and children

The sixteen Americans and one Canadian – including five children – were on a trip organized by the Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries. The missionaries were not present in the video.

was unable to independently confirm the veracity of the video or the timing of its creation.

“If I can’t find what I need, these Americans, I’d rather kill them all and put a big gun in the head of each of them,” said the man in the video.

Haitian Justice Minister Liszt Quitel said this week that the kidnappers were demanding $ 1 million each for the missionaries’ release.

The arrest of the missionaries has drawn global attention to Haiti’s dire kidnapping problem, which has worsened amid the economic and political crises in the Caribbean that have created a spiral of violence.

The video contains footage of allegedly five dead men lying in coffins, which the man described as “fallen soldiers” and who blamed police chief Leon Charles for their deaths.

“Leon Charles made me cry, gentlemen. When it was my turn I cried my eyes and if I make you cry I’ll make you cry with tears of blood, ”he said.

Haitian media company Le Nouvelliste said Thursday that Charles submitted his resignation. A spokesman for the Haitian police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The White House said Thursday it would do everything possible to help the missionaries. “We will do everything we can to help resolve the situation,” said White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

A senior State Department official told reporters the video was legitimate.

“If you are a kidnapper, it is your job to say such things,” said the officer. “We must work with our Haitian law enforcement partners and families and institutions to try to move this process towards a safe solution.”

Kidnapping epidemic

Christian Aid Ministries said the video was known but would not comment on it until the hostage negotiators determined that such comments would not endanger the group’s welfare.

The 400 Mawozo started out as petty local thieves and grew into one of the most feared gangs in Haiti, who, according to security experts, controlled a stretch of land east of the city of Port-au-Prince.

Haitian gangs have steadily expanded their territory in recent years and have grown bolder since President Jovenel Moise was assassinated in July.

Its leaders – most notably Jimmy Cherizier, the leader of a gang coalition called the G9 – have increasingly taken on public roles, broadcast extensive interviews online and sometimes publicly threatened politicians.

Also read | 15 US missionaries and family abducted in Haiti: Source of security

When Prime Minister Ariel Henry attempted to preside over a ceremony to commemorate the death of one of Haiti’s founding fathers, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, gangs fired on shots until his delegation withdrew to hold the ceremony elsewhere.

Cherizier, who goes by the pseudonym “Barbecue”, later showed up in a white suit and made a flower offering at the site of Dessalines’ murder and took the place of the Prime Minister

Fuel protests

Widespread anger in Haiti over a weakening currency, double-digit inflation, rising crime and allegations against public officials have sparked violent, sometimes fatal, protests.

Protesters blocked streets of Port-au-Prince with stones and branches and burned tires on Thursday to protest fuel shortages.

Motorists meandered through the back streets of the city, often forced to turn around after encountering barricades.

St. Luc Lector, 26, a motorcyclist in Petion-Ville, near town, said he joined the protest because he was angry at the constant hunt for fuel.

“My motorcycle is my bread and butter,” he said. “I had to fight for months to find gasoline when I had to work. This strike is necessary because life is tough for us as motorcyclists.”

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