A man claiming to be with the gang behind the kidnapping of over a dozen US missionaries has threatened to kill the hostages if the millions in demanded ransom is not paid.
An armed gang that kidnapped 17 members of a US missionary group in Haiti last week are demanding $1 million each for their release, the Haitian justice minister told US media, adding that five children were among those abducted.
Over the weekend, the kidnappers contacted Christian Aid Ministries – an Ohio-based missionary group whose members were kidnapped – and demanded the ransom, Haitian Justice Minister Liszt Quitel told several US media outlets on Tuesday.
The missionary group has been in contact with the gang since then and several phone calls have been made, the minister said, adding that local police negotiators and FBI agents were advising the group on how to proceed.
The FBI agents on the ground in Haiti, CNN reported, adding that they were not leading the negotiations and had not spoken directly to the gang.
The gang leader was identified as Wilson Joseph, believed to be the head of the 400 Mawozo gang, which is behind the kidnapping. Joseph is wearing a purple suit and gold chain in the video presentation.
Joseph appeared to be speaking from a funeral for several deceased gang members, and he at one point threatened Prime Minister Ariel Henry and Leon Charles, the chief of police.
The armed gang kidnapped a group of 17 American and Canadian missionaries in Haiti earlier this month and have since demanded $17 million in ransom for their release.
FBI agents are reportedly in Haiti, and the kidnappers have been in contact with Christian Aid Ministries, the Ohio-based charity behind the missionary trip, about the ransom.
The missionaries were taken by the gang while they were traveling by bus near the nation’s capital, Port-au-Prince. They were reportedly visiting an orphanage, and multiple children are among the group.
Christian Aid Ministries held a press conference earlier on Thursday where members said they were fasting and praying for those being held hostage.
RT.com / ABC Flash-Point Caribbean News 2021.