According to a statement by Prime Minister Claude Joseph, the 57-year-old President of Haiti Jovenel Moise has been shot dead by a group of foreigners, some of whom were bilingual. The First Lady, 49-year-old Martine Moise has been critically injured and has been flown for treatment to another country. The Prime Minister said that he has taken charge of Haiti and declared a “state of siege “which gives him extra powers. Moise and his wife were staying at their private home in the hills above Port-au-Prince.
Video footage, that was uploaded on Instagram by an alleged witness, shows someone with an American accent shouting into a megaphone that a DEA operation was in progress and that everybody should back down and stand down. Then there were sounds of gunfire.
A government source told the Miami Herald that the attackers pretended to be a part of the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). The source called them “mercenaries.” They appeared to be well trained and professional.
The late president was under fire for not relinquishing his presidential post although his term had ended. He was considered to be a dictator and had recently nominated a new Prime Minister, a neurosurgeon called Ariel Henry, just a day before his assassination.
Moise had consolidated his powers reportedly using gangsters who helped him retain power. He had supposedly supervised the formation of an intelligence services whose members reported directly to him. He was also accused of trying to change the Haitian constitution.
There are only 10 elected officials in the French speaking country. There is no clear legal framework on the succession of power in case of the death of a president. There is bound to be chaos in the following weeks or more as there could be a battle for succession.
Leaders from all over the world including President Joe Biden of the U.S., Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the U.K., Pedro Sanchez, the Prime Minister of Spain and many other world leaders, have offered condolences and have wished the First Lady a speedy recovery.