The entire command has been identified in Haiti that was involved in the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse. It would be 26 Colombians and two Haitians with American nationality, reports AP . news agency. Seventeen of them were arrested, three others were killed in a shootout with police. The other suspects are still being sought.
The motive for the murder is still unclear. After the assassination attempt on Moïse, a state of emergency was declared in Haiti for at least two weeks, so that the army and police have more options in tracing possible perpetrators. Help with the investigation was offered from the United States and Colombia, partly because six of the suspects are veterans of the Colombian army. The 17 suspects were shown to the press on Thursday, alongside passports, rifles, machetes and walkie-talkies.
Moïse, 53, was killed in an attack on his private home in the night from Tuesday to Wednesday. His wife was seriously injured. Moïse has been Haiti’s president since 2017 and has faced mass protests during his term following disappointing economic growth and allegations of corruption in his government. When the president started to rule by decree to quell the unrest, the pressure on Moïse, partly from the opposition, only increased.
Read an analysis about the president: Dead Haiti President Had Enemies in Every Corner
Impending political crisis
The assassination of the president has only added to the unrest, although interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph called on residents of the penniless country to return to work on Thursday. He also wants to reopen the airport, which was closed after the attack. Whether Joseph is in a position to make these decisions is unclear, now that a political crisis seems to arise after Moïse’s death.
According to the Haitian constitution, when a president dies, he must be replaced by the president of the Supreme Court, but the chief justice in Haiti died last week from the effects of the corona virus. Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph took charge of the country after Moïse’s assassination, but his position is now also being disputed.
A day before his death, Moïse appointed Ariel Henry, who had been Minister of the Interior until then, as interim Prime Minister and thus replacement for Claude Joseph. However, Henry is not sworn in by Moïse, leaving Joseph still interim prime minister and current president. Henry told the AP news agency on Thursday that not Joseph but he is currently president and that Joseph must return to his previous role as secretary of state. The UN has called for Joseph to remain in power and to call new elections as soon as possible.