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Haitian gang leader charged in missionary kidnapping

Residents flee homes to avoid clashes between armed gangs in the La Plaine neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Friday. Associated Press/Photo by Odelyn Joseph

Haitian gang leader charged in missionary kidnapping

U.S. prosecutors released official charges Tuesday accusing Joly Germine, 29, of conspiring to take hostages when the 400 Mawozo gang kidnapped 17 Christian missionaries last year, 16 of whom were American. Most of the group, which included five children, was held near Port-au-Prince for 61 days. Germine was extradited to the United States last week on firearms trafficking charges. 

What was his alleged role? Germine, also known as “Yonyon,” was in a Haitian prison when the missionaries were kidnapped last October, but the Justice Department claims he directed the gang’s activities and ransom negotiations. Twelve of the captives escaped during the night after the gang previously released five. It is unclear whether a ransom was paid. The indictment claims Germine ordered the kidnapping to leverage his release from prison. He is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday. The 400 Mawozo kidnapped another group of 17 tourists, mostly Turkish nationals, in the same place Monday. 

Dig deeper: Listen to one of the escaped missionaries tell his story on The World and Everything in It podcast.

Carolina Lumetta

Carolina is a WORLD reporter and a graduate of the World Journalism Institute and Wheaton College. She resides in Washington, D.C.


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