Haitian gang leader threatens to kill ‘these Americans’ in online video
PORT-AU-PRINCE, October 21 (Reuters) – A Haitian 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 was prepared to kill “these Americans “if he doesn’t get what he needs.
The speaker in the video, dressed in a purple suit, is identifiable as the man known in Haiti by the pseudonym Lamo Sanjou, the leader of the 400 Mawozo gang.
Reuters was unable to independently confirm the veracity of the video or when it was made. It shows the man talking in the street and surrounded by other unidentified men. The missionaries were not present.
“If I can’t find what I need, these Americans, I would rather kill them all, and I will fire a big gun in the heads of each of them,” the man said.
A Haitian police spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters.
The 400 Mawozo started out as local petty thieves and have grown into one of Haiti’s most feared gangs controlling a rural area east of the capital Port-au-Prince, according to security experts.
Justice Minister Liszt Quitel told Reuters this week the kidnappers were seeking $ 17 million for the release of the missionaries, who were kidnapped on a trip organized by Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries. L1N2RF11W
Their seizure has drawn global attention to the serious kidnapping problem in Haiti, which has worsened amid economic and political crises in the Caribbean country.
Local media outlet Le Nouvelliste reported Thursday that Haitian police chief Léon Charles had resigned, citing comments from Prime Minister Ariel Henry.
Meanwhile, protesters on Thursday blocked the streets of Port-au-Prince with stones and tree branches, and burned tires to protest widespread fuel shortages.
Haitian truckers had initially planned a strike to protest the shortages, but Thursday’s protests were largely led by motorcycle riders angry at not being able to work for lack of fuel.
Authorities also recently banned the sale of fuel in five-gallon containers, which has traditionally served as a mechanism to find gasoline during shortages.
Motorists crisscrossed the streets of the capital on Thursday, often forced to turn around after crossing barricades. Others argued and negotiated with the demonstrators in an attempt to let them through.
Anger over the weakening currency, double-digit inflation, soaring crime and corruption charges against officials have sparked violent and sometimes deadly protests.
Reporting by Gessika Thomas and Brian Ellsworth, editing by Rosalba O’Brien and Daniel Flynn
Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.