Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in his private residence early Wednesday, the country’s interim prime minister announced.

His wife, first lady Martine Moïse, remains in critical condition following the attack.
The country’s police chief on Wednesday night said four suspects were killed by police in a shootout and two were arrested.

DCO Global News
Published on July 8, 2021
By Odoh Dominic Chukwuemeka

Haiti’s police chief said late Wednesday night that four people suspected of being involved in the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse were killed by police in a gun battle. Two others were arrested, he said.

Léon Charles, the police chief, said three police officers who were held hostage had been freed.

“The police are engaged in a battle with the assailants,” he said at a news conference. “We are pursuing them so that, in a gunfight, they meet their fate or in gunfight they die, or we apprehend them.”

Moïse was shot and killed at about 1 a.m. local time Wednesday by a group of armed assailants in his home.

“A group of unidentified individuals, some of them speaking Spanish, attacked the private residence of the president of the republic and thus fatally wounded the head of state,” said Claude Joseph, the interim prime minister of Haiti.

Haitian first lady Martine Moise was also injured in the attack and was receiving medical treatment.

Local police arrested the “presumed” assassins of President Jovenel Moïse on Wednesday evening.

Haiti’s Communications Secretary Frantz Exantus tweeted Wednesday that local police had arrested the “presumed” assassins of President Jovenel Moïse.

Exantus did not provide additional details but said more information would be available shortly on the country’s state television broadcaster.

“So far this looks like an execution and not a coup d’état”

Prior to the assassination, an organized crime leader, Jimmy Cherizier, had called on gangs to take on the government, ostensibly over its failure to reduce poverty.

“So far this looks like an execution and not a coup d’état,” Jean-Max Bellerive, a former Haitian prime minister, told The Wall Street Journal.

On Monday, Moïse had named a new prime minister, Ariel Henry, who the paper described as having “close ties to opposition leaders.”

“[I]t could start looking like a coup d’état if the interim prime minister [Claude Joseph] starts taking charge of everything without trying to achieve consensus,” Bellerive said.

Haitian first lady Martine Moïse has arrived in Florida after she was transported via “air ambulance”
Haitian first lady Martine Moïse arrived in South Florida on Wednesday afternoon after she was transported there via an “air ambulance.”

The news was first reported on Twitter by Miami Herald reporter Jacqueline Charles who said Moïse was alive.

Moïse was in critical condition, a Haitian ambassador said earlier Wednesday. Moïse survived the shooting that killed her husband, Haitian President Jovenel Moïse.

Haitian first lady Martine Moïse is in ‘critical condition,’ a Haitian ambassador said

“She’s stable but in critical condition,” Ambassador Bocchit Edmond told reporters Monday, according to Reuters.

“Efforts are being done now to take her to Miami to be treated,” he added.

Martine Moïse was wounded in the early Wednesday morning attack that left her husband, President Jovenel Moïse, dead.

When elected, Moïse pledged to “write a new page of history,” but his time in office was marked by controversy and protest
Protesters clash with police during a protest against Moïse

During his time in office, Moïse faced allegations of corruption, and opposition over fuel shortages, inflation, rising crime, and the misappropriation of development funding.

He was first elected in 2016 and took office the following year. Protests against his government were chaotic and included violent clashes with police.

Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph declared a ‘state of siege’ Wednesday morning, closing Haiti’s borders
Joseph on Wednesday declared a “state of siege,” the Haitian designation that falls between a “state of emergency” and a “state of war,” on Wednesday morning.

The “state of siege” declaration followed a meeting of the Haitian council of ministers, according to CNN. The designation means all of the country’s borders are closed and martial law is enacted.

In a statement, Joseph urged residents to remain calm and promised he would bring “the killers of the president to justice,” the report said.

In a statement, President Joe Biden said he was “shocked and saddened”
“We are shocked and saddened to hear of the horrific assassination of President Jovenel Moïse and the attack on First Lady Martine Moïse of Haiti,” Biden said in a statement issued at about 11 a.m. Wednesday.

He added: “We condemn this heinous act, and I am sending my sincere wishes for First Lady Moïse’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.”

Video reportedly taken outside Moïse’s home showed a large security response following his assassination

The video, which was first obtained by Journal la Diaspora and posted by the Miami Herald, showed a number of people with guns — reportedly security personnel — standing on a dark street following the attack. One person appeared to be laying in the middle of the street.

Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph told The New York Times in an interview that he was in control of the Caribbean nation
Joseph said Haitian police and military were in control of security in the country.

Source: The New York Times, AP

The news of the assassination creates more uncertainty in Haiti’s turbulent political sphere

President Jovenel Moïse speaks during a press conference at the National Palace in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019. Haiti’s embattled president faced a fifth week of protests as road blocks and marches continue across the country, after opposition leaders said they will not back down on their call for Moïse to resign.

Before his assassination Wednesday, Moïse had been ruling in the country for over a year by decree after the country failed to hold an election. An election was expected to occur later this year.

At the time of his death, Haiti was experiencing a surge in gang-related crimes, anti-government protests, and COVID-19 infections, the AP reported.

The streets were mostly quiet Wednesday morning, though some ransacked businesses were reported in one area of Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital city.

By Odoh Dominic Chukwuemeka


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