Leader of Haiti’s feared 400 Mawozo gang extradited to US

Criminal group responsible for last year´s kidnapping of American missionaries.

Leader of Haiti’s feared 400 Mawozo gang extradited to US

The leader of Haiti's 400 Mawozo gang, which abducted 16 American missionaries last year, was extradited to the US on Tuesday, Haiti’s National Police said in a statement.

Haiti's police said that Germine Joly, better known as ‘Yonyon,’ “was extradited to the United States of America on Tuesday, May 3, 2022, aboard a special plane (FBI) following a request for judicial assistance issued by the US judicial authorities.”

Joly is wanted by the judicial authorities of the District of Columbia, who accuse him of smuggling weapons of war and the “ransom of American citizens."

The mass abduction occurred in October when an armed group kidnapped 16 American missionaries and one Canadian citizen who were visiting an orphanage when their bus was seized in the town of Ganthier, east of the capital Port-au-Prince.

The 400 Mawozo gang, one of the country's oldest and most feared gangs, demanded a million dollars each for their release and threatened to kill the hostages unless the demand was met.

Hundreds of Haitian families have been forced to flee their homes because of violence between gangs, which has been particularly harsh in the north and northeast of Port-au-Prince. Families with children have abandoned their homes in the last few months in the midst of this climate of terror, according to local media.

The humanitarian situation on the Caribbean island has worsened since the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in July 2021. Tensions are rising amid criminal gang violence, a spike in kidnappings, shortages of fuel, increases in food prices and a political vacuum that has plunged Haitians into deep uncertainty about the future. Prime Minister Ariel Henry's term of office officially ended on Feb. 7, which has also worsened the deep instability the country is experiencing.

So far, national authorities have not been able to regain control of the areas that have been taken over by the gangs.