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Haiti gang leaders threaten to kill hostages

Because I don’t get what I need, I’m going to kill these Americans, gang leader Wilson Joseph says in a recent video.

These are twelve adults and five children, the youngest being eight months old. 16 people from the United States and 1 person from Canada. They were kidnapped last Saturday and the kidnappers are demanding one million dollars (8.6 million kronor) each.

In the video, published by Agence France-Presse, Joseph stands with armed men and coffins with five dead gang members.

“The FBI is in place”

An official from the United States believes the video is real.

– It’s not a fake video what we can see now, the one who wants to remain anonymous, tells reporters late Thursday local time.

– We have constant contact with the police in Haiti. The source adds that the FBI is on the scene in Haiti and has contacts with all interested parties.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said earlier this week that the government was doing everything it could to rescue missionaries, but other than that, it was quiet on the official US side.

The purpose of extortion

The missionaries and their families were kidnapped in a suburb of the capital, Port-au-Prince, on Saturday. Their bus was stopped after they visited an orphanage and police previously suspected the powerful 400 Mawozo gang – led by Wilson Joseph – to be behind the kidnapping.

The gang leader has long been wanted by the police and is suspected of, among other things, murders, kidnappings, car thefts and truck hijackings.

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Most of the kidnappings in Haiti are carried out for the purposes of extortion, and the increasing number of kidnappings in recent times coincides with the deterioration of the security situation in the country. Organizations and unions went on strike to protest the seriousness of the situation.