The government said on Wednesday (July 7) that Haitian President Jovenel Moise was shot and killed by an unidentified attacker in his private residence overnight, which was a “barbaric act” “This has caused people to worry about the escalation of turmoil in this poor Caribbean country.
The assassination coincided with a wave of gang violence in Port-au-Prince. In recent months, armed groups have competed with police and other armed groups for street control, turning many areas of the capital into restricted areas.
Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph said in a statement that the 53-year-old president’s wife Martin Moyes was also shot in an attack at around 1:00 AM local time (0500 GMT) and is receiving medical treatment. .
“A group of unidentified people, some of whom speak Spanish, attacked the private residence of the President of the Republic, and thereby fatally wounded the head of state,” he said.
Joseph said that although gunshots could be heard throughout the crime-ridden capital of 1 million people after the attack, the police and the army have taken control of the security situation.
As Haiti’s politics is polarized, facing a growing humanitarian crisis and food shortages, concerns about widespread chaos are spreading. The Dominican Republic said it is closing its border with Haiti on the island of Hispaniola.
The bloodshed in Haiti was caused by worsening poverty and political turmoil.
This country of approximately 11 million people-the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere-has struggled to achieve stability since the fall of the Duvalier dictatorship in 1986 and has struggled to deal with a series of coups and foreign intervention.
The UN peacekeeping mission-designed to restore order after the 2004 rebellion overthrew then President Jean-Bertrand Aristide-ended in 2019, and the country is still in turmoil. In recent years, Haiti has been hit by a series of natural disasters, and the scars of the 2010 earthquake still exist.
Moise, who turned from a banana exporter to a politician, faced fierce protests after taking office in 2017. This year, the opposition accused him of trying to establish a dictatorship by overdue and becoming more authoritarian. He denied these allegations.
Joseph said: “All measures are being taken to ensure the continuity of the country and protect the country.”
After the country failed to hold legislative elections and hoped to push for a controversial constitutional reform, Moise ruled by decree for more than a year.
The U.S. Embassy said in a statement that it will be closed on Wednesday due to the “ongoing security situation.”
White House Press Secretary Jane Pasaki said in Washington that the United States is evaluating this “tragic attack” and President Joe Biden will be briefed on the assassination.
“We are always ready and support them to provide any help they need,” she said. “Of course, our embassy and the State Council will maintain close contact, but this is a tragedy. It is important that we stand with them and let the Haitian people know this.”
On June 30, the United States condemned Haiti for systematic violations of human rights, fundamental freedoms, and attacks on the press, and urged the government to combat gangs and the spread of violence.
The President of the Dominican Republic, Luis Abinad, held an emergency meeting on the situation in Haiti earlier on Wednesday, but has not yet issued a statement.
EU foreign policy chief Jose Puborell said he was “shocked” by the assassination of Moise in Haiti and warned that this violent act could further destabilize Caribbean countries.
“This crime poses a spiralling risk of instability and violence. The perpetrators of this assassination must be found and brought to justice,” Borrell wrote on Twitter.