Gang leader threatens to kill missionaries being held hostage.

October 21, 2021

– NPR photo
The orphanage in Haiti where the missionaries had just visited before being kidnapped

Gang leader threatens to kill missionaries being held hostage.

The head of a Haitian gang holding 17 missionaries captive — including a Shelby-area mother and her four children — threatened to kill them if the ransom is not paid, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“I swear that if I don’t get what I want, I prefer to kill the Americans. I’ll put a bullet in each of their heads,” said Wilson Joseph, believed by Haitian officials to be the head of the 400 Mawozo gang, states WSJ.

Joseph appeared to be speaking via video from a funeral Wednesday, Oct. 20, of five of his fellow gang members, whose deaths he blamed on National Police Chief Leon Charles. It was not clear how or why the gang members were killed.

“Five soldiers fell but they won’t destroy an army. I’m going to pour blood,” he said.

A leading Haitian newspaper, Le Nouvelliste, reported that the police chief had resigned. 

The missionaries were snatched in an eastern suburb of the capital when armed members of the gang forcibly stopped the minibus they were traveling in. The group, which includes an 8-month-old baby, was returning from a visit to a nearby orphanage. 

White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the Biden administration has been “relentlessly focused” on the kidnappings, while adding that US officials from the state department and the FBI were on the ground in Haiti, according to WSJ.

The hostages belong to Christian Aid Ministries, an Ohio-based charity set up by Mennonite and Amish and other conservative Christian sects. 

The gang is demanding $1 million for the release of each hostage — a total of $17 million.

 

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