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Haiti: Gang leader issues threat regarding abducted missionaries


Haiti: Gang leader issues threat regarding abducted missionaries
A sign marks the entrance of the home office of Christian Aid Ministries in Millersburg, Ohio, US, October 17, 2021. (Reuters)

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Port Au Prince – The leader of the Haitian gang that kidnapped 17 American and Canadian missionaries last Saturday is threatening to execute them if the US$17 million ransom is not paid.

In a video message being circulated here, Wilson Joseph, says if he doesn’t get what needs “I’ll kill these Americans”.

Earlier this week, Justice and Interior Minister, Liszt Quitel, said the kidnappers want one million per person released, “which equates to US$17 million for all hostages”.

Media reports here said that the gang “400 mawozo” had carried out the kidnapping of the foreigners, including four children, ages between eight months and 15 years, last Saturday as they travelled by bus on the road to Ganthier.

Quitel said that the FBI and the Haitian National Police (PNH) were negotiating with the kidnappers and trying to obtain the release of the hostages – 16 Americans and one Canadian.

But in the video message Joseph, a leader of the 400 Mawozo gang, said those who haven’t “paid the bills yet” need to finish doing so.

“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,” said Joseph, who in the video is seen surrounded by a crowd of people during what appears to be a funeral procession.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who confirmed the appointment of the inspector general, Frantz Elbé as the Director General of the National Police of Haiti (PNH), following the resignation of Léon Charles, urged the new chief to restore peace in the French-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) government.

“We would like public peace to be restored, that we return to normal life and that we find the way to democracy. Finally, we would like to organise elections. We wish the new acting DG good work and success,” Prime Minister Henry said.

For his part, Elbé said he is committed to dealing with the crime situation and has promised to “strengthen security devices throughout the country, especially in the metropolitan area in order to prevent cases of kidnapping, prevent thugs from committing their crimes”.

The Bank of the Republic of Haiti (BRH), in a statement, said that it wanted to inform the public that it is not involved in any operation or financial mechanism aimed at paying ransom for hostages. (CMC)