- The “suspected assassin” of Haitian President Jovenel Moise was detained less than 24 hours after their unbridled attack.
- The country will start a two-week national mourning from Thursday.
- US President Joe Biden condemned the killing as “terrible” and said Washington is ready to help in any way.
A government minister said that the “suspected assassin” of Haitian President Giovinel Mois was detained on Wednesday, less than 24 hours after the leader of the impoverished Caribbean country was shot and killed in his home.
“Shortly before 6 o’clock tonight, the national police intercepted the assassins of (Mois) in Pellelin,” Deputy Minister of Communications Franz Exentus wrote on Twitter, adding that more More details will be announced soon.
Moise’s private residence in the capital Port-au-Prince was attacked, and the first lady Martina Moise was also injured. This has plunged this crisis-hit country into uncertainty. The shocked world leaders called for While remaining calm, make citizens feel scared.
Timeline | Haiti: a history of political turmoil
The UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting on the Haiti issue around noon on Thursday. Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph, who will be replaced this week, declares a “national state of martial law”, grants additional powers to the executive branch, and says he is now in charge of the country.
As the international community’s anger over the killing spread, Port-au-Prince’s airport was closed, but witnesses said the city was quiet, the streets were empty, and there were no additional security patrols.
The attack occurred around 1:00 am (0500 GMT). Joseph said that the president was “assassinated at home by foreigners who speak English and Spanish.”
“This death will not go unpunished,” Joseph said in a speech to the nation.
Moise’s wife Martine first received treatment at a local hospital and was then taken by air ambulance to the Ryder Trauma Center in Miami.
An ambulance is parked at the entrance of the Ryder Trauma Center, and the first lady of Haiti, Martin Mois, is receiving treatment in Miami.
Chandan KHANNA / AFP
Earlier, Haiti’s ambassador to Washington, Bocchit Edmond, told reporters that the killers were “professional” mercenaries who, disguised as agents of the US Drug Enforcement Administration, may have left the country.
“We have a video and we believe those are mercenaries,” he added.
After the legislative elections due in 2018 were postponed due to disputes (including when his own term will end), Moys passed a decree to rule Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas.
It was “professional” mercenaries who assassinated the President of Haiti. They disguised themselves as American agents and may have left the country.https://t.co/V4hIa4bPKS
— News24 (@News24) July 7, 2021
In addition to the political chaos, there has been a surge in kidnappings for ransom in recent months, reflecting the growing influence of armed groups in the country.
Haiti is also facing chronic poverty and recurring natural disasters.
Outside Moise’s residence, police and forensic experts inspected bullets found on the street and searched for other evidence.
A nearby car can be seen full of bullet holes and broken windows.
After the border was closed, soldiers guarded the Dajabong border crossing between the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
Erica SANTELICES / AFP
The streets of the capital are at a standstill, and only a few citizens have expressed fear and suspicion.
“We didn’t expect it. This is another earthquake in Haiti,” said a mother of two who claimed to be Bernadette, referring to the disaster that destroyed the country in 2010.
“I can’t believe it, I can’t believe it,” said 50-year-old Jacqueline.
The country will start a two-week national mourning from Thursday.
The president faced strong opposition from a large number of people who believed his authorization was illegal, and he replaced seven prime ministers in four years.
Joseph was supposed to be replaced this week after only three months in office.
In addition to the presidential, legislative and local elections, Haiti was originally scheduled to hold a constitutional referendum in September, which was postponed twice due to the coronavirus pandemic.
US President Joe Biden condemned the killing as “terrible” and said Washington is ready to help in any way.
Biden said in a statement: “We condemn this heinous behavior, and I sincerely wish the first lady Moyes recovery.”
Washington also called on Haiti to continue with elections. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said that fair voting would “promote the peaceful transfer of power to the newly elected president.”
Read | U.S. assesses the “tragic attack” that killed the President of Haiti-White House
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres called on Haitians to “keep united” and “reject all violence.”
Josep Borrell, the head of EU foreign policy, warned that there is a “risk of instability and escalation of violence”.
Moise-a 53-year-old former entrepreneur from the north of the country-took the political stage in 2017, conveyed the message of reconstruction, campaigned with populist promises, and was sworn in in February 2017.
The end date of his term became a source of tension.
Moise insists that his term ends on February 7, 2022, but others claim that his term ends on February 7, 2021.
The disagreement stemmed from Moise’s election in a 2015 ballot, but was cancelled due to fraud, and then re-elected in November 2016.
Without a parliament, the country plunged further into crisis in 2020 and led to Mois’s passing a decree to govern, exacerbating distrust of him.
Postpone the election
Although calm remained within a few hours after the assassination, many people feared that Haiti might fall further into violence.
“How bad can hell be?” asked Irwin Stotzky, a professor at the University of Miami Law School and a Haitian expert.
“As a democratic country, Haiti faces more violence, deaths and failures than ever before. Given its recent and chaotic history, this is hard to imagine.”
The murder took place a few days after Moise appointed Ariel Henry, a neurosurgeon who had studied in France, as the new prime minister of Haiti.
The 71-year-old Henry has a close relationship with the opposition parties, but most opposition parties do not welcome his appointment, and they continue to demand the president’s resignation.
The Dominican Republic ordered the immediate closure of its borders with neighboring Haiti after the assassination.