A Haitian man claiming to represent a gang that kidnapped a group of American and Canadian missionaries said in a video posted to YouTube on Thursday that he wanted to kill “these Americans”. Ready if he doesn’t get what he needs.
The speaker in the video, in a purple suit, can be identified as a person known in Haiti by the leader of the 400 Mawozo gang alias Lamo Sanjou.
Reuters was unable to independently confirm the veracity of the video or when it was made. It shows the man speaking in the street and surrounded by other, unknown men. The missionaries were not present.
“If I don’t get what I want, these Americans, I’ll kill them all, and I’ll stick a big gun in the head of each of them,” said the man.
A Haitian police spokesman did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.
The 400 Mavozo began as small-time local thieves and became one of Haiti’s most dangerous gangs, which, according to security experts, control a rural area east of the capital, Port-au-Prince.
Justice Minister Liszt Quitel told Reuters this week that the kidnappers were seeking $1.7 million for the release of missionaries who were kidnapped on a visit organized by Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries.
His seizure has brought global attention to Haiti’s serious kidnapping problem, which has worsened amid economic and political crises in the Caribbean nation.
Haitian police chief Leon Charles has resigned, citing comments from Prime Minister Ariel Henry, local media outlet Le Nouveliste reported on Thursday.
Separately, protesters on Thursday blocked the streets of Port-au-Prince with rocks and tree branches, and burned tires to protest widespread fuel shortages.
Haitian truck drivers initially planned to strike to protest the shortage, but Thursday’s demonstrations were led largely by motorcyclists, who were outraged that they were not working to make up for the lack of fuel. could.
Authorities also recently banned the sale of fuel in five-gallon containers, which traditionally served as a mechanism to find gasoline during times of shortage.
On Thursday, drivers were injured on roads along the capital, which are often forced to turn after coming across barricades. Others argued and bargained with protesters in an attempt to pass them.
Anger over weak currency, double-digit inflation, rising crime and allegations of corruption filed against government officials fueled violent, sometimes deadly, protests.
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