Haitian Prime Minister Claude Joseph on Thursday urged citizens to hand over the suspected assassins of President Jovenel Moise to the police and not to lynch them amid a state of siege at the national level.
Hundreds of residents rushed outside a police station in the capital Port-au-Prince where the suspects were detained, blaring “blazes” and setting fire to a vehicle that was allegedly that of the killers.
Haitian police have arrested him shot four of the men Suspected of assassinating President Jovenel Moise and hunting for teachers behind the operation, the Haitian police chief said in a television briefing Thursday.
It is believed that at least two suspects are at large.
Police director general Leon Charles described the killers as “mercenaries” and said security forces were engaged in a fierce battle with the suspected killers that lasted late into the night and six suspects were killed. put in custody, while three corpses were recovered. Police have been patrolling the area extensively since early Thursday.
“We have the physical authors, now we look for the intellectual authors,” Charles said.
Identities and details about the gunmen were still emerging. One of the men arrested is a Haitian-American citizen named James Solages, Haiti’s election minister told the Associated Press. The U.S. State Department could not confirm whether an American citizen was among those arrested.
President Moise, 53, was tomb in his house on the morning of July 7 from what appears to be a group of highly trained assassins, opening a political vacuum as soon as Moise and other civilian leaders were preparing for elections and discussing revisions to Haiti’s constitution.
Moise, elected in 2016 with less than 600,000 votes out of a potential 6.1 million, was sworn in as president in 2017. Opposition parties have said Moise’s term should end in February. , five years after his predecessor left, and they say he was trying to keep power by decree. Moses had supported his extended mandate until 2022.
A nation of 11 million, Haiti is the poorest country in the Americas with 4 million people living hungry, widespread gang violence and armed groups that control vast areas of the country including several neighborhoods in Haiti’s capital. It faces an epidemic of COVID and has been plagued by political instability.
Moses on July 5 appointed a replacement prime minister for Joseph, Ariel Henry, who had formed a new government at the time of the assassination. Henry had not been sworn in and challenged Joseph’s legitimacy.
According to the Haitian constitution, Moise is to be replaced by the president of the Haitian Supreme Court, but the head of justice has died in recent days from COVID-19, leaving open the question of who could justify succeeding in office.
The UN Special Envoy for Haiti said Thursday that Prime Minister Joseph will remain the leader of the Caribbean nation until the elections held while she urged all parties to resolve their differences following the assassination of the president. Jovenel Moise.
“Stakeholders need to put aside their differences and chart a common way to move forward and overcome this difficult time in a peaceful manner,” said Helen La Lime, UN envoy to Haiti in a media briefing virtual from New York.
Joseph assured La Lime that elections were in the pipeline on Sept. 26 with a second round in November this year, he said.
The Lime said a Security Council discussion Thursday focused on a request from Haiti for additional security assistance.
A UN peacekeeping mission that began in 2004, following a rebellion that killed then-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, ended in 2019 with the country still in disarray.
Prime Minister Joseph is moving to “ensure the continuity of the state” amid a “political vacuum” following the assassination of Moses, Haiti’s ambassador to the United States Bocchit Edmond said Thursday.
Edmond said Haiti has asked the US to assist in the investigation and to help provide security. The U.S. State Department said it was responding to a request for investigative assistance.
Haitian First Lady Martine Moise was injured in the attack and was airlifted to an American hospital in Florida for medical attention.
Haiti’s land border with the neighboring Dominican Republic and Port-au-Prince airport were closed Thursday in the middle of the state of emergency at the national level declared by Joseph.
Public transportation and street vendors were scarce, an unusual sight on the normally lively streets of Port-au-Prince.
Marco Destin, 39, walked to see his family since no buses, known as tap-taps, were available. He brought a loaf of bread for them because they had not left his house since the president died out of fear for his life.
“Everyone in the house sleeps with one eye open and one eye closed,” he said. “If the head of state is not protected, I have no protection.”
Destin said Haiti has always been a complicated country and he was not sure what the days to come will bring. “Haiti doesn’t know in which direction it’s heading now,” he said. “To be honest, I don’t know what the solution is. There’s always been a power struggle.”