The seventeen missionaries and their family members who were abducted in Haiti will be killed if they are not paid ransom. That‘s what the gang leader behind the kidnapping said in a video message.
On Tuesday it was announced that the kidnappers are demanding $17 million for the release of the group consisting of sixteen Americans and a Canadian. “If I don’t get what I ask for, I swear to shoot a bullet in the minds of these Americans,” says Wilson Joseph, leader of the band ‘400 Mawozo’, in a video posted on social media.
The video shows Joseph in front of several open chests, presumably containing the bodies of gang members killed. “You made me cry. My tears are water, but I will make your blood cry.”
Praying for Families
The seventeen missionaries and relatives were abducted last weekend in Croix-des-Bouquets, a suburb of the capital Port-au-Prince. They traveled on behalf of the American organization Christian Aid Ministries.
A spokesman for the organization asked at a press conference to pray for the affected families. “They‘re having a really tough time now.”
meantime, more and more is known about the gang behind this kidnapping. 400 Mawozo would mean “400 idiots.” The group started with about ten young people working in Croix-des-Bouquets to steal motorcycles and robbing residents, says former Senator Jean Renel Senatus to Reuters news agency. He grew up in the suburb and says he has been threatened for years by the group, who initially called themselves “Texas.”
meantime, Croix-des-Bouquets would be largely under the control of the gang. According to Senatus, the group was able to grow so fast due to easy access to weapons and corrupt drivers.
In April, 400 Mawozo kidnapped nine nuns and priests, including two people from France. A month later they were released when ransom would have been paid. In the previous period, the gang did not engage in kidnappings. “As far as I know, they haven’t kidnapped anyone for more than two years,” Senate says.