Explanation: The hunt for the assassins of the Haitian president
PORT-AU-PRINCE, July 16 (Reuters) – Haitian President Jovenel Moise was shot dead when assassins armed with assault rifles stormed his private residence in the hills above Port-au-Prince on July 7.
Moise’s assassination has stoked fears of a spiral of chaos in the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere.
It also sparked an international manhunt for gunmen and suspected brains across the region of the Americas.
Here’s what we know so far:
HOW WAS MOISE KILLED?
A large group of gunmen killed Moise, 53, in a morning attack on his residence in PÃ©tionville, a northern suburb of the capital Port-au-Prince. His wife was seriously injured.
Haitian Ambassador to the United States Bocchit Edmond said the gunmen were posing as US Drug Enforcement Administration agents during the attack, which would likely have helped them enter the guarded house. . Read more
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE GUNMEN?
The gunmen fled, but police tracked some of them to a house near Moise’s residence, where an exchange of gunfire lasted late into the night.
So far, 18 of 26 Colombians suspected of playing a role in the attack have been arrested, while three have been killed by police and five are still at large. Police also arrested two Americans of Haitian descent and another Haitian believed to be the mastermind of the operation.
WHO WERE THE COLOMBIAN HITMEN?
Colombian Defense Minister Diego Molano said initial findings indicated that Colombians suspected of participating in the assassination were retired members of his country’s armed forces.
Many former Colombian soldiers traveled to Haiti to work as bodyguards, but others knew a crime was in the works, the Colombian president said Thursday. Read more
A “small number” of the detainees had received US military training in the past while serving as active members of the Colombian military, the Pentagon said.
WHO ARE THE DIRECTORS OF THE ATTACK?
According to Colombian police chief General Jorge Vargas, former Haitian justice ministry official Joseph Felix Badio ordered the assassination three days before the attack, giving orders to former Colombian soldiers Duberney Capador and German Rivera . Badio’s whereabouts were unclear and he could not immediately be reached for comment.
Authorities also arrested Christian Emmanuel Sanon, 63, widely described as a Florida-based doctor, and accused him of being one of the masterminds for the murder.
Sanon hired mercenaries to oust and replace Moise, authorities say. He reportedly traveled to Haiti aboard a private jet in early June, accompanied by hired security agents, and wanted to take the presidency. Read more
National Police Chief Leon Charles also identified former Haitian Senator John Joel Joseph as a key player in the plot, saying he had provided weapons and scheduled meetings, and that police were looking for him. Read more
Charles said Dimitri Herard, the head of security at Moise Palace, was also arrested. Prosecutors want to know why the attackers did not meet more resistance at the president’s home. Read more
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
Moise’s assassination sparked new political volatility in the Caribbean nation of 11 million people, with Acting Prime Minister Claude Joseph calling on the United States and the United Nations to send troops to guard the airport and to d ‘other infrastructure.
US President Joe Biden on Thursday rejected Joseph’s proposal, saying such a plan “was not on the agenda at the moment.” Read more
But American investigators continue to help the Haitian authorities in their investigation.
The United States could also bring charges in U.S. court, if possible, against those who killed Moses, a senior U.S. administration official said.
Colombia will send a consular mission to Haiti as soon as it is approved by the Caribbean nation, Vice President and Foreign Minister Marta Lucia Ramirez told reporters on Friday, to meet with detained Colombians, ensure their rights are met. respected and move forward with the repatriation of the remains of the deceased Colombians.
The ministry is in daily contact with the families of the dead and detainees, Ramirez said.
She repeated the Colombian government’s claims that very few ex-soldiers knew about the assassination plan, but said those responsible would have to pay the price.
Compiled by Anthony Esposito in Mexico City; Editing by Drazen Jorgic, Alistair Bell and Daniel Wallis
Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.