HOLMES COUNTY, Ohio — Editor's Note: The above video is from a Thursday press conference featuring Christian Aid Ministries spokesperson Weston Showalter.
The leader of the 400 Mawozo gang that police say is holding 17 members of a kidnapped missionary group from Northeast Ohio is seen in a video released Thursday saying he will kill them if he doesn’t get what he’s demanding.
The video posted on social media shows Wilson Joseph dressed in a blue suit, carrying a blue hat and wearing a large cross around his neck.
“I swear by thunder that if I don’t get what I’m asking for, I will put a bullet in the heads of these Americans,” he said in the video.
He also threatened Prime Minister Ariel Henry and the chief of Haiti’s National Police, Léon Charles as he spoke in front of the coffins that apparently held several members of his gang who were recently killed.
“You guys make me cry. I cry water. But I’m going to make you guys cry blood,” he said.
Earlier this week, authorities said that the gang was demanding $1 million per person, although it wasn’t immediately clear that included the five children in the group, among them an 8-month-old.
Holmes County-based Christian Aid Ministries said the kidnapped group consists of 16 U.S. citizens and one Canadian, for a total of five children, seven women and five men. The organization said they were on a trip to visit an orphanage.
On Thursday morning, Christian Aid Ministries spokesperson Weston Showalter read a letter from the families of the hostages. "Thank you for your prayers on behalf of our family members who are being held hostage in Haiti," the letter began. "We ask Him (God) to hear our prayers and bring our families home."
Christian Aid Ministries observed a day of prayer and fasting on Thursday.
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