October 4, 2022
Haiti gang leader threatens to kill kidnapped missionaries in video
The leader of a Haitian gang accused of kidnapping 17 missionaries has threatened to kill them if its demands are not met, a new video apparently recorded Wednesday shows.The 400 Mawozo gang, which controls the Ganthier commune in the suburb of Port-au-Prince where the missionaries were abducted Saturday, has been demanding $1 million per hostage,…

The leader of a Haitian gang accused of kidnapping 17 missionaries has threatened to kill them if its demands are not met, a new video apparently recorded Wednesday shows.

The 400 Mawozo gang, which controls the Ganthier commune in the suburb of Port-au-Prince where the missionaries were abducted Saturday, has been demanding $1 million per hostage, according to the country’s justice minister. A U.S. State Department official stated that the viral video appears to be legal.

Christian Aid Ministries is an Ohio-based non-profit organization that said it was aware that a Facebook video appeared to show members from the gang who kidnapped its staff.

” We will not comment on this video until those involved in obtaining release of hostages have determined comments will not compromise the safety and well being of our staff members and their families,” Christian Aid Ministries stated.

The hostages’ families asked for prayers in a statement asking for their safe return. They said that they were praying for the gang leaders.

An aerial view of the Christian Aid Ministries headquarters in Titanyen, Haiti, on Thursday. Matias Delacroix / AP

Christian Aid Ministries described the families as being from Amish, Mennonite and other Anabaptist communities in Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Oregon and Ontario. The kidnapped missionaries are five children 8 months to 15 years old and 12 adults, the group has said.

Haiti had been one of the most poor countries in the Western Hemisphere before Jovenel Moise was assassinated. A devastating 7.2-magnitude earthquake then struck the country in August, killing more than 2,000 people and displacing thousands more. There have been protests in Haiti about the conditions in the country. On Monday, Haitians staged a general strike at Port-au-Prince in protest of the pervasive violence in the country and its devastated economy.

Christian Aid Ministries stated that the group was involved in providing medical care to Haitians, teaching Haitian pastors, and most recently, helping coordinate a reconstruction project for Haitians who were forced from their homes by the July earthquake.

The FBI is helping the State Department to release the hostages. An official from the State Department stated that their main concern is their safety.

The Human Rights Analysis and Research Center, a Haitian nonprofit group, said it has recorded at least 628 kidnappings since January, 29 of them of foreign nationals. The number of incidents rose by 300 percent in September compared to July, the center said.

Phil Helsel is a reporter for NBC News.

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