Port-au-Prince (Haiti): The situation in Haiti remained tense a day after the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. This was followed by gunfire in which four suspects in the murder were killed while a further two were arrested and three members of the police force who were being held hostage were freed.
The President was killed early morning on Wednesday when assailants entered his house and shot him and his wife Martine Moïse.
Martine is critically wounded and is currently in treatment at the Jackson Health System’s Ryder Trauma Center, Miami, United States.
“The pursuit of the mercenaries continues,” Léon Charles, director of Haiti’s National Police said.
“Their fate is fixed: They will fall in the fighting or will be arrested,” he added.
Authorities have refrained from giving out the ages, names, or nationalities of the suspects and have also not commented on any motives behind the killing.
The only information they gave was that the attack was carried out by a highly trained and heavily armed group” whose members spoke Spanish or English.
Prime Minister Claude Joseph has taken charge of the country with the help of police and the military has declared a two-week state of siege.
People who have left the country but whose families and friends are still there are worried after the recent events.
“There is this void now, and they are scared about what will happen to their loved ones,” said Marlene Bastien, executive director of Family Action Network Movement, a group that helps people in Miami’s Little Haiti community.
She also urged US President Joe Biden to intervene in the situation.
Haiti had grown increasingly unstable under Moïse, who had been ruling by decree for more than a year and faced violent protests as critics accused him of trying to amass more power while the opposition demanded he step down.
According to Haiti’s constitution, Moïse should be replaced by the president of Haiti’s Supreme Court, but the chief justice died in recent days from COVID-19, leaving open the question of who might rightfully succeed to the office.
Moïse had faced large protests in recent months that turned violent as opposition leaders and their supporters rejected his plans to hold a constitutional referendum with proposals that would strengthen the presidency.
With inputs from PTI