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U.S. reportedly has proof American, Canadian kidnap victims in Haiti are alive as gangs step up demands

JimmyCherizier1022221.jpeg
Joseph Odelyn
/
AP
Top Haitian gang leader Jimmy 'Barbecue' Cherizier in a Port-au-Prince slum last month.

The Haitian gang that abducted missionaries last month has provided proof of life for some captives — while Haiti's top gangster urges the United States to back his alliance.

The Biden administration has seen proof that some of the U.S. and Canadian missionaries kidnapped last month in Haiti are alive, according to a Friday news report . Meanwhile, the violent gangs responsible for the wave of abductions in Haiti are making bolder demands.

According to Reuters, the gang that kidnapped 16 Americans and a Canadian — including five children — has provided U.S. officials proof of life for some of the captives. The gang, known as 400 Mawozo, has threatened to kill those hostages if million-dollar ransoms aren’t paid for each of them.

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U.S. officials are in Haiti taking part in efforts to win the release of the victims, who belong to an Ohio-based missionary group, Christian Aid Ministries. They were abducted near an orphanage they run outside Port-au-Prince.

400 Mawozo is one of several violent gangs that now control much of Port-au-Prince and Haiti as the government there collapses. They’re responsible for a terrifying wave of ransom kidnapping — and most recently, hijacking scarce fuel.

Meanwhile, top gang leader Jimmy Cherizier — known as “Barbecue” — is demanding this week that Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry resign. And he’s even urging the United States and the United Nations to break relations with Haiti’s government.

Cherizier, who heads a gang alliance called G-9 and says he opposes the sort of kidnapping 400 Mawozo has carried out, wants the international community to instead back what he calls his heavily armed group's fight to “liberate” Haiti.