Wednesday's early morning assassination of Haiti's President Jovenel Moise has turned the country on it's head. The manhunt for the killers, who also wounded Moise's wife, stretched on throughout the night ending with the streets covered in bloodshed.
Four suspects connected to Wednesday's killing of President Jovenel Moise were killed by police overnight, and another two were detained, officials said.
Haiti's ambassador to the United States, Bocchit Edmond, described the suspects as foreign "mercenaries" and said he believed they had received assistance from Haitian nationals, but officials have divulged few public details on the attack.
Moise's death takes place against a background of extreme violence in the capital Port-au-Prince which has claimed the lives of many citizens in recent weeks. Haiti was already dealing with political turmoil, a growing humanitarian crisis, and a worsening Covid-19 epidemic.
As we reported yesterday, there has not been a successor named as yet. The second in command would have been the President of the Supreme Court would be next in line, but he recently died after contracting Covid-19. For the acting prime minister Claude Joseph to formally replace the President, he would have to be approved by Haiti’s parliament. Haitian Parliament is mostly defunct due to lack of recent elections. So, for now, the country is without an official leader.
Moise's wife, First Lady Martine Moise, was taken to Jackson Health System's Ryder Trauma Center in Miami and her condition is stable but critical.
According to CNN Ambassador Edmond said he believed the suspects, whom he referred to as "well-trained killers," received assistance from Haitian nationals due to vehicles they used to get to the presidential residence where the President was killed. Edmond said Haitian National Police were in the process of determining their nationalities.
"We are trying to move forward and see how we can identify more of those who participated in this horrible act," he said.
Video from the scene showed suspects speaking Spanish and they presented themselves as Drug and Enforcement Administration (DEA) Agents, Edmond said. "I believe they are fake DEA agents," he told reporters Wednesday. CNN has viewed the video and cannot independently confirm the authenticity of the audio or video.
"We don't know how they came in," Edmond said, adding that they did not know if the attackers were still in the country. He said if they have left, it would be via a land border with the Dominican Republic because Haiti would have detected a plane leaving and the airport has been closed since the attack. He said the airport would reopen "once we have this situation under control."
Let's keep our brothers and sisters in Haiti in our prayers.