Foreign hit crew killed Haiti’s leader, police say

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A hit squad composed mostly of retired Colombian soldiers assassinated Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise earlier in the week, police say.

The group included 26 Colombians and two Americans of Haitian origin, captain Leon Charles told reporters.

Eight of the suspects are still on the run, while 17, including the 2 Americans, are arrested.

The remaining suspects were shot dead during gun battles with the police within the capital, Port-au-Prince.

A group of gunmen burst into the president’s private residence within the early hours of Wednesday. Mr. Moise’s wife, Martine, was injured during the attack and has been flown to Florida for treatment where she is claimed to be in stable condition.

It is not yet clear who planned the attack or what motivated it. Haiti’s interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph, however, told the BBC that the 53-year-old president may are targeted because he was fighting “oligarchs” within the country.
On Thursday, police presented a number of the suspects to the media alongside weapons, Colombian passports, and other evidence. “Foreigners came to our country to kill the president,” Mr. Charles said.

“We will strengthen our investigation and search techniques to intercept the opposite eight mercenaries,” he added.

Colombia’s government has said a minimum of six members of the alleged team seemed to be retired members of its military. it’s pledged to help Haiti with its investigation efforts.

The US state department, meanwhile, said it couldn’t confirm if any of its citizens had been detained.

Investigators are still checking out the masterminds of the killing, which has triggered some civil unrest in what’s the poorest nation within the Americas.

An angry crowd gathered on Thursday to observe the police operate within the capital. Some cars were torched, and other people gathered outside a police headquarters where the suspects were being held.

A state of emergency remains effective across the country.

Who is on top of things in the country?
The assassination has prompted confusion over who is responsible for Haiti. The constitution says the president of the Supreme Court should take over, but he recently died of Covid-19.

After that, amendments suggest the prime minister should lead. Ariel Henry had been named in the week because the new PM but he has not yet been sworn in. He insists he should be responsible.

Mr. Joseph, the interim prime minister, told the BBC he was “puzzled” by Mr. Henry’s statement, adding: “We got to leave those things behind and put Haiti forward.”

The UN has said Mr. Joseph should remain responsible until elections are held later this year.

He has said he won’t represent the presidency. “I’m not here to remain too long. we’d like to carry elections. I don’t have a private agenda,” he said.

How did the attack unfold?

Heavily armed assassins stormed the president’s range in the hills above Port-au-Prince at around 01:00 civil time (05:00 GMT) on Wednesday.

Video released after the shooting seemed to show heavily armed men wearing black pretending to be US drugs agents, shouting: “DEA [US Drug Enforcement Administration] operations, everybody stays down!

Mr. Moise died at the scene. The president’s body had 12 bullet wounds, Magistrate Carl Henry Destin told Le Nouvelliste newspaper.

The president’s office and bedroom were ransacked and he was found lying on his back, covered in blood, the magistrate said.

The first couple’s three children, Jomarlie, Jovenel Jr, and Joverlein, are reported at a “safe location”, officials said.

Even before President Moise’s assassination, things in Haiti were marked by instability and there had been widespread protests demanding his resignation.

Parliamentary elections should are held in October 2019 but disputes delayed them, meaning Mr. Moise had been ruling by decree.

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