Video of a Haitian gang leader threatening to kill hostages.

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Video of a Haitian gang leader threatening to kill hostages.

According to video obtained by AFP, the head of a Haitian gang who kidnapped a group of North Americans over the weekend has threatened to execute them.

Wilson Joseph, dressed in a suit and flanked by armed men, stood in front of coffins containing the bodies of five members of his gang, according to video shared on social media on Thursday.

“I’m going to kill these Americans because I’m not getting what I need,” Joseph remarked in Haitian Creole.

According to security officials, the kidnappers are seeking a $17 million ransom for the release of the captives.

On Saturday, a group of 17 American and Canadian missionaries and their children were abducted in broad daylight while visiting an orphanage in the heart of a gang-controlled district in eastern Port-au-Prince.

The abducted missionaries belonged to the Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries, which said the group consisted of 12 adults aged 18 to 48, as well as five children ages eight months, three, six, thirteen, and fifteen.

The US has recommended Americans not to travel to Haiti, citing kidnappings involving American people as a frequent occurrence.

Joseph has been wanted by Haitian police since December 2020 for offenses such as assassination, abduction, vehicle theft, and cargo truck hijacking.

Meanwhile, motor taxi drivers in the Haitian capital stopped roads and snarled traffic on Thursday to protest gasoline shortages caused by gangs controlling oil access.

Demonstrators across the city have expressed their displeasure with being forced to buy fuel on the illicit market.

Since June, gangs have tightened their grip on Port-au-Prince, preventing secure access to two of Haiti’s three oil terminals.

In early September, armed gangs stole more than a dozen tankers at the third, which is located in the Cite Soleil slum.

Protestors accused officials of preferring fuel imports over renewable energy near one barricade of blazing tires on Thursday.

“In Haiti, we don’t have a power system, so we have to seek for diesel to run a generator,” explained one 30-year-old student who requested anonymity for security concerns.

“We have all the sun in the world,” he continued, “but solar panels are too expensive.”

Following the departure of his predecessor, Leon Charles, Prime Minister Ariel Henry announced late Thursday the appointment of a new police head, Frantz Elbe, against the backdrop of expanding gang involvement.

“It’s time to get down to business. We want public peace to be restored, normal life to be resumed, and democracy to be restored. Finally, we’d like to get things in order. The Washington Newsday Brief News is a daily newspaper published in Washington, D.C.

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