Haitian Gang Leader Threatens To ‘Put A Bullet In The Heads’ Of Kidnapped American Missionaries

He says he’ll do so if his demands aren’t met.

The head of a Haitian gang that officials say kidnapped 17 members of an Ohio-based Christian missionary group is threatening to kill them if his demands aren’t met.

According to a video that circulated online Thursday (October 21), Wilson Joseph, head of a gang identified as “400 Mawozo,” didn’t say what his demands were or provide a deadline in the video. The threats come as Port-Au-Prince’s police chief resigned.

Liszt Quitel, Haiti’s justice minister, told the The Washington Post that the gang was seeking a $1 million ransom per person in exchange for their release.

“I swear by thunder that if I don’t get what I’m asking for, I will prefer to kill these Americans,” Joseph says in the video. “I will put a bullet in the heads of each of them.”

RELATED: Haiti Prime Minister Ariel Henry and Security Were Run Off From State Event By Gangs

Joseph is blaming national police chief Léon Charles for fellow gang members’ deaths as the ransom video was recorded at one of their funerals, The Post reports. Samuel Madistin, a lawyer and chairman of the board of directors of the human rights group Fondation Je Klere, said police killed the gang members earlier this month while responding to an attack on a business.

“I cry water,” Joseph says in the video. “I will have you cry blood.”

The ransom video is just the latest problem Haiti is facing as they still haven’t solved who assassinated President Jovenel Moïse in July, are dealing with the aftermath of a deadly earthquake in August and the mass exodus of people from their country who are seeking refuge in the United States.

The Christian Aid Ministries hostages spent their sixth day in captivity on Thursday. The group was reportedly returning from a visit to an orphanage near Port-au-Prince on Saturday when their vehicle was ambushed.

RELATED: 5 Things To Know About The Haitian Migrant Crisis

State Department representatives and the FBI are in Haiti trying to secure the release of the hostages, The Post reports. Additionally, President Biden has been receiving regular briefings on their efforts.

“We have been working closely with the Haitian national police to try to build their capacity, as well as help put in place programs that can effectively deal with the gangs,” deputy White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Thursday. “But it’s a very challenging and long-term process. … It is absolutely essential that this security dynamic change.”

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