The leader of the Haitian gang that abducted 17 North American citizens Saturday in the east of the capital Port-au-Prince threatened to hang hostages in a video shared Wednesday on social media.
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“If I don’t get what I need, I will kill these Americans,” Wilson Joseph threatens in Creole, surrounded by several men armed and armed, all gathered in front of the coffins where the bodies of five members of the army lie. He said his gang was killed by police.
On Saturday, missionaries and members of their families, 16 U.S. citizens and a Canadian national were abducted on their way to an orphanage in the center of the area controlled by the armed forces.
The Ministry of Christian Aid, which includes the abducted missionaries, said the group includes 12 adults aged 18 to 48 and five children aged 8 months, 3, 6, 13 and 15 years.
The kidnappers are demanding a ransom of $ 17 million to free them, security sources confirmed to AFP.
Haiti is classified by the United States as a country in the Red Zone, which advises its compatriots not to go there, especially because of the numerous abductions of “American citizens who continue to be among the victims.”
Since December 2020, Wilson Joseph has been subject to a search notice by the Haitian Police for “murder, attempted murder, hijacking, vehicle theft and hijacking trucks.”
In the wake of the growing mob influence, Prime Minister Ariel Henry on Thursday decided to replace Leon Charles, director general of the Haitian National Police (BNH), a source close to the prime minister told the AFP that the BNH has not yet been officially confirmed.
Armed gangs, which have long been confined to the capital’s poorest districts, have in recent months extended their control, especially blocking access to oil terminals.
On Thursday, groups of motorcycle taxi drivers stepped up barricades across Port-au-Prince to counter fuel shortages caused by mobs and force them to stockpile on the black market.
“I now buy petrol for 1000 to 1500 kores (10 to 15 US dollars, editor’s note) per gallon” instead of the legal price of 201 kores, an angry taxi-motorcycle driver identified, not wanting to reveal it.
In early September, armed groups hijacked a dozen tankers as they exited the only terminal in the country, one-third more accessible.
Faced with the risk of losing more than ,000 15,000 worth of goods by truck, petroleum product distributors have almost stopped their operations.
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