A state of emergency was declared in the country after the assassination. Authorities blocked a coup attempt earlier this year that was reportedly aimed at assassinating President Jovenel Moïse and overthrowing the government.
Haiti president Jovenel Moïse was murdered the night between Tuesday and Wednesday. He was 53 years old.
A group of strangers attacked the president’s private apartment in the morning and shot him to death, the country’s interim prime minister Claude Joseph said in a statement Wednesday.
The news agencies Reuters and AFP, among others, report the matter.
Moïsen’s wife Martine Moïse was seriously injured in the incident and has been taken to hospital. In the early evening Finnish time, the US Ambassador to Haiti Bocchit Edmond announced that Martine is scheduled to be transferred to Miami, USA for treatment.
Martine’s condition is said to be critical but stable.
Edmond also said authorities have video evidence of the assassination. The assassins claimed to be agents of the U.S. Drug Police, or DEA, and according to preliminary data, at least some of them were foreigners.
“It was a well-organized and executed blow, and the perpetrators were professionals,” Edmond said.
Down a state of emergency was declared under Joseph’s leadership on Wednesday, increasing government power. In his televised speech on the emergency, Joseph said the country was in a “siege state”. The duration of the emergency was reported to be two weeks.
“My compatriot, stay calm, for the situation is under control,” Joseph said in his speech.
Assassination also provoked a strong reaction from the international community.
For example, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell said he was “in shock” about what happened.
“This crime poses a serious risk to the stability of the country and can lead to a spiral of violence. The perpetrators of the assassination must be found and brought to justice, ”Borrell wrote on Twitter.
Also The UN Security Council said it was appalled by the assassination.
“Council members express deep shock at President Moïse’s assassination,” French ambassador to the UN Nicolas de Rivière said.
Prime Minister Joseph called on the Security Council to meet as soon as possible because of the assassination. In his press release, he also called on the international community to launch an investigation into the assassination.
According to diplomatic sources in the news agency AFP, the Security Council decided on Wednesday to hold a meeting on the situation in Haiti on Thursday.
Also the UN Secretary-General António Guterres condemned the assassination and called on the Haitians to maintain constitutional order and reject all violence.
The United States president Joe Biden for its part, the situation in Haiti was described in its own statement as “very worrying” and the assassination as “Catalan”. Biden promised his country would be ready to help Haiti.
According to Joseph, the perpetrators of the presidential assassination were foreigners who spoke English and Spanish.
Joseph announced that he is now in charge of the country.
He urged citizens to remain calm and promised that the police and army would take care of security. Shots were heard across the capital, Port-au-Prince, after the attack.
Violence has increased in the capital as gangs fight for control of the streets with each other and with police. Kidnappings with their ransom demands have also increased in recent months.
Due to the unstable situation in the country, the assassination of the president is feared to cause more and more unrest.
The neighboring Dominican Republic said it was closing the border between the states. The leadership of the Dominican Republic is holding an emergency meeting over the assassination.
The U.S. embassy was also reported to remain closed on Wednesday due to the security situation.
Previously in February, the authorities blocked a coup attempt in Haiti. At the time, the company said the authorities intended to assassinate President Jovenel Moïse and overthrow the government.
At least 23 people have been arrested for the coup attempt. Among those arrested have included a Supreme Court judge and a police officer.
Read more: A coup attempt was blocked in Haiti with the intention of assassinating the country’s president
Moïsen his status as president has long been questioned. According to the president himself, he has been entitled to continue in office for another year, but the opposition says this is not the case and the constitution is misinterpreted. This has led to protests in Haiti in the Caribbean demanding the end of the presidency.
The controversy stems from the fact that Moïse was initially elected president in 2015 by a vote that was later overturned on suspicion of fraud. Moïse was elected president in a new election a year later, but the election was again considered controversial.
In a few years, the country has had seven prime ministers. Moïse was about to replace the country’s prime minister this week, even though Joseph had only been in office for three months.
Haiti a referendum on the constitution is scheduled for September. The vote has already shifted twice because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Opposition and NGOs have opposed Moïse-backed constitutional reform. In addition, the country’s current constitution forbids amending the constitution by referendum. It has also been considered impossible to hold a vote due to the insecure situation in the country.
Haiti is politically divided and, in addition to violence, suffers from poverty and food shortages.