The head of the Haitian National Police, Léon Charles, indicated that 28 of the assassins of the country’s president, Jovenel Moïse, shot dead in the early hours of Wednesday (7), at his home, had been identified. According to him, 26 are Colombians, 2 are Haitians, and the authorities are still looking for 8 others who are on the run.
Six suspects have already been arrested by the police – according to Mathias Pierre, head of the country’s electoral affairs, two of them are Haitian-Americans. According to the minister, one of them is James Solages and is an American citizen of Haitian origin, while the other has not been identified by Pierre. On Wednesday evening, four criminals were killed and two others arrested.
However, authorities have provided no evidence of the detainees’ alleged involvement in Moise’s murder. The US State Department has not confirmed the arrest of a US citizen.
Charles claimed Thursday evening (8) that foreigners came to the country to kill Moses. The possibility of American interference had already been pointed out on Wednesday by the Haitian ambassador to the United States, Bocchit Edmond. He said the criminals who broke into Moses’ house claimed to be members of the American Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Hours later, Ned Price, a spokesman for US diplomacy, refuted the theory and called the accusations “absolutely false.”
The possibility that they were foreigners had also been raised by the interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph, who took power after the death of Moise. He said on Wednesday that the criminals were heard speaking English and Spanish, which would indicate they are not Haitians, with the country’s official languages being French and Creole.
According to local media, citing the judge in charge of the case, Moïse was found with at least 12 gunshot marks. “The office and living room were ransacked. We found him lying on his back, [usando] blue pants, white shirt stained with blood, open mouth, pierced left eye, ”Magistrate Carl Henry Destin told the Haitian newspaper Le Nouvelliste.
A daughter of the couple, Jomarlie, was at home during the attack, which took place at dawn, but managed to hide in one of the bedrooms. The first lady, also shot, has been transferred to Miami for treatment and, according to Joseph, is out of danger and in stable condition.
In a statement released by Haitian broadcasters earlier Thursday, Police Director General Leon Charles said the country’s security forces were engaged in an operation to arrest or kill members of the group responsible for the attack on the president and the First Lady, Martine. The biggest concern now, Charles says, is finding the action mentors. He also called on the population to help the police and avoid causing riots.
Hundreds of residents gathered in front of the police station where the suspects are held in Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, shouting “burn them” and torching a vehicle they suspected to be the killers. This decision, which adds to a long history of violent demonstrations in the Haitian streets, led the Prime Minister to call on the population not to lynch the suspects.