Haiti President Jovenel Moise assassinated; 4 suspects killed in police gunfight
President of Haiti, Jovenel Moise has been assassinated in his home by a group of armed mercenaries, also seriously injuring his wife, Martine. The attack on 53 year old Moise and his wife was carried out during early hours of Wednesday by “armed commando group” possibly including foreigners, said country’s interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph. Police Chief Leon Charles has relayed that Haiti’s security forces have killed four members of “mercenaries” group who led the assassination.
Late on Wednesday Charles said during a televised update, “The police is still in combat with the assailants. We blocked them en route as they left the scene of the crime. Since then, we have been battling with them.” Two of the attackers have been detained reportedly.
The assassination of president is expected to bring in more chaos and instability in the poorest country in Americas. The Caribbean country has a history of political turmoil and dictatorship. Haiti is currently experiencing chaos by gang violence, surging inflation and rising unrest in opposition who have accused Moise of authoritarianism.
Addressing the nation, Claude Joseph declared state of emergency in Haiti and urged people to maintain calm. He has also urged for international investigation into the president’s assassination. Haitian ambassador to Washington, Bocchit Edmond said that Moise’s killers claimed to be members of US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as they entered his residence moments before the attack. “This was a well-orchestrated commando attack,” Edmond said. “They presented themselves as DEA agents, telling people they had come as part of a DEA operation.” Furthermore, in videos circulating on social media, a man with American accent can be heard speaking over megaphone, “DEA operation. Everybody stand down. DEA operation. Everybody back up, stand down.”
“It was something carried out by professionals, by killers … But since the investigation has been just been opened, we prefer to wait on legal authorities to have a better assessment of the situation. We don’t know for sure, with real certainty, who’s behind this. This is an act of barbarity. It’s an attack on our democracy,” Edmond said.
The attack took place at Moïse’s house in the Pelerin 5 district of Pétionville. “Around one o’clock in the morning, during the night of Tuesday 6 to Wednesday 7 July 2021, a group of unidentified individuals, including some speaking Spanish, attacked the private residence of the president and fatally injured the head of state,” Joseph said in a statement.
US President Joe Biden said in a written statement, “We condemn this heinous act, and I am sending my sincere wishes for first lady Moise’s recovery. The United States offers condolences to the people of Haiti, and we stand ready to assist as we continue to work for a safe and secure Haiti.”