Haiti has called on the United Nations and the United States to send troops to help secure key infrastructure after the assassination of President Jovenel Moise plunged the country into political turmoil, according to several reports.
A letter from the prime minister’s office to UN offices on July 7 – the day Moise was shot dead at his home – said the aim was to “support the efforts of the national police with the aim of restoring security and public order throughout the territory “. The letter was reviewed by Reuters news agency.
The 15-member United Nations Security Council should authorize the deployment of UN peacekeeping or police forces in Haiti.
In an interview with AFP news agency, Election Minister Mathias Pierre also confirmed the report.
“We thought that the mercenaries could destroy some infrastructure to create chaos in the country. During a conversation with the US Secretary of State and the UN, we made that request, “Pierre said.
The news website, Military.com, also reports that the U.S. has confirmed the request.
“The Haitian government has requested security and investigation assistance and we are in regular contact with Haitian officials to discuss how the United States can help,” Pentagon Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Ken Hoffman said on the website. e-mail.
The assassination of Moise by an armed squad in the early hours of Wednesday morning at his home in Port-au-Prince plunged Haiti into a political crisis, which could worsen growing hunger, gang violence and an outbreak of COVID-19.
So far, the U.S. has said it is sending senior FBI and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials as soon as possible to assess the situation and see how best they can help, the White House said.
Two U.S. law enforcement sources, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss an active investigation, told Reuters the agencies were studying U.S. connections to the murder.
A State Department spokesman said, “We are aware of the arrest of two U.S. citizens in Haiti and are closely monitoring the situation. For privacy reasons, we have no further comment.”
“Plagued by bullets”
The head of Colombia’s National Intelligence Directorate and the intelligence director of the National Police will also travel to Haiti with Interpol to assist in the investigations, Colombian President Ivan Duque said on Friday.
“We offer all possible help to find out the truth about the material and intellectual perpetrators of the assassination,” Duque wrote on Twitter, saying he had just spoken on the phone with Haiti’s interim prime minister, Claude Joseph.
Police in Haiti said the killing was carried out by a commando unit of 26 Colombian mercenaries and 2 Haitian-Americans. The two American Haitians were identified as James Solages, 35, and Joseph Vincent, 55, both of Florida.
Seventeen of the men were captured, including Solages and Vincent, after a battle with Haitian authorities in Petionville, a mountain suburb in the capital Port-au-Prince, where Moise resided.
According to Haitian police, three others died and eight were released. Authorities are searching the brains of the operation, they said.
A judge investigating the case told Reuters that Moise was found lying on his back on the floor of his bedroom, with 12 gunshot wounds and his left eye pushed. other rooms were looted.
“His body was full of bullets,” Petionville court judge Carl Henry Destin said. “There was a lot of blood around the corpse and on the stairs.”
Who is behind the attack?
In the days following the attack, questions continued to circulate in the country about who killed the president and why.
“Foreigners came to the country to commit this crime. We Haitians are dismayed, “a resident of the capital told AFP news.
“We need to know who is behind this, their names, their backgrounds so that justice can be done,” he added.
High police commissioners, directly responsible for the Haitian president’s security, are in the chair and have been summoned to appear in court, said Bed-Ford Claude, a Port-au-Prince government commissioner.
“If you are responsible for the security of the president, where were you? What did you do to prevent this fate for the president? “Claude said.
The Pentagon confirms that Haiti called for “security” aid after the assassination https://t.co/1OsyH65fWc
– Oriana Pawlyk (@ Oriana0214) July 9, 2021
Others have speculated about the possible involvement of security guards in the murder, which added to the confusion.
“The President of the Republic, Jovenel Moise, was assassinated by his security agents,” former Haitian Senator Steven Benoit told Magik9 radio on Friday.
“It was not the Colombians who killed him. They were hired by the Haitian state. “
Moise had faced massive protests against his government since he took office in 2017, first for allegations of corruption and his management of the economy, then for his growing takeover.
Moise himself had spoken of the dark forces at play behind the unrest: corrupt political comrades and oligarchs who felt that their attempts to clean up government contracts and reform Haitian politics were against their interests.
Investigators in Colombia found that 17 of the suspects had withdrawn from the Colombian army between 2018 and 2020, commanders of Armed Forces General Luis Fernando Navarro said on Friday.
Jorge Luis Vargas, director of the Colombian National Police, said initial investigations had shown that 11 Colombian suspects had traveled to Haiti through the tourist town of Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti.
Two others traveled by air to Panama, before flying to the Dominican capital Santo Domingo and then to Port-au-Prince, Vargas said.
The Haitian government declared a 15-day state of emergency on Wednesday to help authorities catch the killers, but has since urged companies to reopen.
The assassination of Moses caused confusion about who is now the legitimate leader of the country of eleven million people, the poorest in the Americas.
“The assassination … has caused a political and institutional vacuum at the highest level in the state,” said Andre Michel, a Haitian opposition politician. “There is no constitutional provision for this exceptional situation.”
The 1987 constitution states that the head of the Supreme Court should take over. But there is currently no one in this role. There is also no parliament in session, after the postponement of the elections in 2019.
Just this week, Moise had appointed a new prime minister, Ariel Henry, to take over from Joseph, although he had not yet been sworn in when the president was assassinated.
Joseph has appeared to take charge of the situation, but Henry – who the opposition considers more favorable – told the Haitian newspaper Le Nouvelliste that he did not consider Joseph the legitimate prime minister.