Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was “fatally wounded” and his wife was shot dead in an armed attack in the early hours of Wednesday on their private residence above the hills of Port-au-Prince, the Prime Minister said. country, Claude Joseph.
Several sources told the Miami Herald that Moses was killed in the attack and his wife was shot.
In a statement from the prime minister’s office, Joseph said the attack happened around 1 a.m. on Wednesday and that some of the unidentified assailants spoke Spanish. The head of state, the statement said, was “fatally injured”.
The first lady Martine Moïse was injured and is being treated, according to the press release.
The attackers claimed to be agents of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, according to videos taken by people in the neighborhood of the president’s home. Moïse, 53, lives in Pelerin 5, a neighborhood just above the hills of the capital.
On the videos, someone with an American accent is heard saying in English over a loudspeaker, “Operation DEA.” Everyone withdraws. Operation DEA. Everyone backs up, backs up.
Sources said the attackers, one of whom spoke English with an American accent, were not part of the DEA.
“They were mercenaries,” said a senior Haitian government official.
Residents report hearing powerful shells fired with precision and seeing men dressed in black running around the neighborhoods. There are also reports of an exploding grenade and drones being used.
The death of the president will plunge Haiti even more into disarray. Moses had faced growing protests against his governance amid a worsening political and constitutional crisis, questions over his legitimacy and accusations he used armed gangs to stay in power.
In his statement, Joseph condemned what he described as a “heinous, inhuman and barbaric act” and called a special security meeting. He called on the population to remain calm.
“The security situation in the country is under the control of the Haitian National Police and the Haitian Armed Forces,” the statement said.
The attack happened a day after Moses appointed a new prime minister, Ariel Henry, to take the head of government and prepare the country for elections in the next two months for the president, a new parliament and representatives of the local government.
Moses took office in 2017 and ruled by decree since January 2020.
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.