A Haitian man identifying himself as the leader of the gang that kidnapped a group of American and Canadian missionaries said in a video posted on YouTube on Thursday that he was willing to kill “these Americans” if he does not get what he needs.
The speaker in the video, dressed in a purple suit, is recognizable as the man known in Haiti by the alias Lamo Sanjou, the leader of the 400 Mawozo gang that authorities say is behind the abduction of the missionaries at the weekend.
The sixteen Americans and one Canadian – including five children – were on a trip organized by the Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries. The missionaries were not present in the video.
Reuters was unable to independently confirm the veracity of the video or when it was made.
“If I don’t find what I need, these Americans, I’d rather kill them all, and I’ll unload a big gun in the head of each of them,” said the man in the video.
Haitian Justice Minister Liszt Quitel told Reuters this week that the kidnappers were demanding $1 million per person for the release of the missionaries.
The missionaries’ seizure has focused global attention on Haiti’s dire kidnapping problem, which has worsened amid economic and political crises in the Caribbean nation that have led to spiraling violence.
The video includes footage of what appear to be five dead men laying in coffins, who the man described as “fallen soldiers,” blaming their deaths on police chief Leon Charles.
“Leon Charles made me cry, gentlemen. When it was my turn, I cried my eyes out, and when I make you cry, I will make you cry tears of blood,” he said.
Haitian media outlet Le Nouvelliste on Thursday said that Charles had presented his resignation. A Haitian police spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The White House said on Thursday it would do all it could to help the missionaries. “We will do everything that we can to help resolve the situation,” said White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
Source: National News Agency-Lebanon