Haiti has called on the UN and the United States to send troops to help secure key infrastructure after the assassination of President Jovenel Moise has put the country in political turmoil, according to several reports.
A letter from the Prime Minister’s Office to UN offices dated July 7 – the day Moses was shot at his home – said the aim was “to support the efforts of the United Nations. national police who want to restore security and public order throughout the territory ”. The letter was reviewed by the Reuters news agency.
The 15-member UN Security Council should authorize a deployment of UN peacekeepers or police in Haiti.
In an interview with AFP news agency, Election Minister Mathias Pierre also confirmed the report.
“We thought the mercenaries could destroy some infrastructure to create chaos in the village. During a conversation with the Secretary of State of the United States and the UN we asked this question, ”Pierre said.
The news website, Military.com also reports that the United States has confirmed the request.
“The Haitian government has requested security and investigation assistance, and we are in regular contact with Haitian officials to discuss how the United States can help,” Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Ken Hoffman told Pentagon spokesman. the site in an email.
The assassination of Moses by a team of gunmen in the early hours of Wednesday morning at his home in Port-au-Prince has put Haiti further in a political crisis, which could exacerbate growing hunger, gang violence and a fire of COVID-19.
So far, the United States has said it will send senior officials from the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as soon as possible to assess the situation and see how it can best help, the White House said.
Two U.S. law enforcement sources, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss an active investigation, told Reuters that the agencies were looking for U.S. connections to the assassination.
A State Department spokesman said: “We are aware of the arrest of two American citizens in Haiti and we are following the situation closely. Due to privacy considerations, we have no further comment.”
The head of Colombia’s National Intelligence Directorate and director of intelligence for the National Police will also travel to Haiti with Interpol to help with the investigations, Colombian President Ivan Duque said Friday.
“We offer all possible help to find out the truth about the material and intellectual perpetrators of the assassination,” Duque wrote on Twitter, saying he had just spoken on the phone with Haitian interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph .
Police in Haiti said the assassination was carried out by a commando unit of 26 Colombian mercenaries and 2 Haitian-Americans. The two Haitian Americans were identified as James Solages, 35, and Joseph Vincent, 55, both of Florida.
Seventeen of the men were captured – including Solages and Vincent – after a gun battle with Haitian authorities in Petionville, a hilltop suburb of the capital Port-au-Prince, where Moise resided.
Three others were killed and eight remained at large, according to Haitian police. Authorities expelled the masters of the operation, they said.
A judge investigating the case told Reuters that Moise was found lying on his back on the floor of his room, with 12 bullet wounds and his left eye punctured. other rooms were looted.
“His body was riddled with bullets,” said Petionville High Court judge Carl Henry Destin. “There was a lot of blood around the corpse and on the stairs.”
Who is behind the attack?
Days after the attack, questions continued to circulate in the country over who killed the president and why.
“Foreigners have come to the village to commit this crime. We Haitians are scared, “a resident of the capital told AFP.
“We need to know who is behind this, their names, their backgrounds so that justice can be served,” he added.
Senior police officers, directly responsible for the security of the Haitian president, are in the hot seat and have been summoned to appear before the courts, said Bed-Ford Claude, a government commissioner in Puerto Rico.
“If you were responsible for the president’s safety, where were you? What did you do to prevent this fate for the president?” Claude said.
The Pentagon Confirms Haiti Called ‘Security’ Assistance After Assassination https://t.co/1OsyH65fWc
– Oriana Pawlyk (@ Oriana0214) July 9, 2021
Others have speculated about the possible involvement of security agents in the killing, adding to the confusion.
“The President of the Republic, Jovenel Moise, has been assassinated by his security agents,” former Haitian Senator Steven Benoit said Friday.
“It was not the Colombians who killed him. They were contracted by the Haitian state. “
Moise had faced mass protests against his rule since taking office in 2017 – first on corruption allegations and his management of the economy, then against his increasingly aggressive take. of power.
Moise himself had spoken of dark forces at play behind the unrest: corrupt politicians and oligarchs who felt their attempts to clean up government contracts and reform Haitian politics were against their interests.
Investigators in Colombia have discovered that 17 of the suspects will retire from the Colombian army between 2018 and 2020, Armed Forces Commander-in-Chief Luis Fernando Navarro told reporters on Friday.
Jorge Luis Vargas, director of the Colombian National Police, said early investigations have shown that 11 Colombian suspects had traveled to Haiti through the tourist town of Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, which shares the Spanish island with Haiti.
Two others traveled by air to Panama, before flying to the Dominican capital Santo Domingo and then to Port-au-Prince, Vargas said.
The Haitian government on Wednesday declared a 15-day state of emergency to help authorities arrest the killers, but has therefore urged companies to reopen.
The killing of Moses has caused confusion over who is now the legitimate leader of the country of 11 million people, the poorest in America.
“The assassination … provoked a political and institutional vacuum at the highest state level,” said Haitian opposition politician Andre Michel. “There is no constitutional provision for this exceptional situation.”
The 1987 constitution stipulates that the head of the Supreme Court should be reinstated. But there is no one in this role. Nor is there a sitting parliament after the postponement of the 2019 elections.
Just this week, Moses had appointed a new prime minister, Ariel Henry, to replace Joseph, even though he had not yet been sworn in when the president was assassinated.
Joseph appeared to take the lead in the situation, but Henry – who is considered more favorably by the opposition – told the Haitian newspaper Le Nouvelliste that he did not consider Joseph the legitimate prime minister.