PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AFP)— The leader of one of Haiti's most powerful gangs, 400 Mawozo, was extradited to the United States on Tuesday, Haitian authorities said, with gang violence in Port-au-Prince having recently exploded into all-out warfare.
Germine Joly, who also goes by "Yonyon," was transported by the FBI to Washington, which had issued an international warrant for his arrest at the end of April.
Joly, who has already been incarcerated for several years in Port-au-Prince, has been charged in the United States with importing weapons as well as kidnapping and ransom of US citizens, a press release from Haiti's National Police said.
The 400 Mawozo gang, which Joly had continued to lead from his cell, kidnapped a group of 17 North American missionaries and their relatives last fall, including five children.
A Dominican diplomat has meanwhile been kidnapped by the group and held for a $500,000 ransom since Friday, according to media from his country, which is the eastern neighbour of Haiti.
The gang has for several years now controlled a highly strategic area which includes the only road to the country's north in addition to the only land route between the Haitian capital and the Dominican Republic.
For 10 days, clashes between 400 Mawozo and another gang have completely paralyzed a northern suburb of Port-au-Prince.
Hundreds of families were forced to flee the area and at least 20 civilians were killed, according to a partial assessment of the violence conducted by Haiti's civil protection.
Haitian authorities already lost access to the only road connecting Port-au-Prince to the southern half of the country, with two kilometres (1.2 miles) of the route completely under the control of armed gangs since June 2021.