Missionaries kidnapped in Haiti: gang leader threatens to kill 17 hostages, including five children

the essential The leader of the Haitian gang who kidnapped 16 North American citizens on Saturday east of the capital Port- au-Prince threatened to execute the hostages, in a video shot Wednesday and shared Thursday on social networks.

“If I do not get what I need, I will kill these Americans”, threatens Wilson Joseph in Creole, appearing in costume and surrounded by many armed men, all gathered in front of the coffins where the corpses of five members of the his gang who he said were killed by the police.

On Saturday, a group of missionaries and their family members, 16 American citizens and a Canadian national, were abducted as they had just visited an orphanage located in the heart of the area under the influence of this armed band.

To read also: Haiti: “Pray for us please !!” call for help from 16 American missionaries and a Canadian kidnapped by a local gang

Christian Aid Ministries, to which the abducted missionaries belong, said the group consisted of adults, whose ages are between 18 and 48 years, and five children, aged 8 months, 3, 6, 13 and 15 years.

17 millions of dollars

The kidnappers demand a ransom of 17 millions of dollars for their release, security sources confirmed to AFP who requested anonymity.

To read also: Missionaries kidnapped in Haiti: the gang that detains the Americans and the Canadian asks 17 millions of dollars in ransom

Haiti is classified as a country in the red zone by the United States which advises its nationals not to go there, in particular because of the numerous kidnappings of which “the victims regularly include American citizens”.

Since December 2020, Wilson Joseph has been the subject of a search notice from the Haitian police for “murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, vehicle theft and hijacking of trucks of goods “.

In this context of growing gang influence, Prime Minister Ariel Henry decided Thursday to replace Léon Charles, the director general of the Haitian national police (PNH), a source close to the Prime Minister told AFP, information that the PNH has not yet officially confirmed.

Long confined to poor districts of the capital, the armed gangs have, in recent months, extended their control, in particular blocking access to oil terminals.

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