The Associated Press reported that the leader of Haiti’s 400 Mawozo gangs threatened in a video to “put a bullet in the heads” of kidnapped American missionaries. Haitian Justice Minister Liszt Quitel said that the kidnap gang is demanding a ransom payment of $1 million per person for each of the 17 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,” Wilson Joseph reportedly said in the video posted to YouTube on Thursday.
Joseph, who also goes by the alias of Lamo Sanjou, was dressed in a purple suit. He is recognized as the leader of the 400 Mawozo gang. Authorities believe the gang is responsible for the abduction of the missionaries this weekend.
The video also includes images of five dead men lying in coffins. Wilson Joseph describes them as “fallen soldiers.” And blames their deaths on police chief Leon Charles.
“Leon Charles made me cry, gentlemen. When it was my turn, I cried my eyes out, and when I make you cry, I will make you cry tears of blood,” the 400 Mawozo gang leader said.
It has been reported by local newspapers that Chief Charles has submitted his resignation. The Haitian police have not confirmed those reports.
The gangs have gotten more powerful since the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise. Meanwhile, there have been citizen protests throughout Haiti demanding the gang release the aid workers.
400 Mawozo video not confirmed
So far there has been no independent confirmation of the video. And it is also unknown when it was made. None of the hostages appear in the video.
The State Department is not responding to requests for comment on its authenticity.
A group of 16 Americans and 1 Canadian are members of the Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries. And were kidnapped last weekend. The group includes five children.
The aid workers were visiting an orphanage outside the capital city of Port-au-Prince. Their bus was hijacked by what is believed to be the 400 Mawozo gang.
A representative for Christian Aid Ministries said at a press conference that the hostages are from Amish, Mennonite, and Anabaptist communities, the Mansfield News Journal reported on Thursday.
The hostages come from Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Oregon and Ontario, Canada, according to Mansfield News Journal.