PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti | The hunt for the assassination of Haitian President Jovnell Moss was accelerated on Thursday, amid an uproar over the role of the police and the interim administration ‘s legitimacy, tension and controversy.
• read more – “We are afraid of our families”
• read more – Assassination of the President: Haiti is sinking
Haitian police have announced the killing of four “mercenaries” by commandos who chased President Moss into his home from Tuesday to Wednesday night, and arrested six more.
One of the latter, a U.S. citizen, told AFP on Thursday that Matthias Pierre, the minister in charge of election matters.
The State Department announced Thursday that it has agreed to assist Haitian police in the investigation without confirming the arrest of an American national.
- Listen to international political columnist Lok Doss with Vincent Desuralt on QUB Radio:
Leon Charles, head of the Haitian National Police, appealed for calm. However, he was ambiguous in his current actions.
“Six of the attackers were in the hands of police and five cars have been recovered. Unfortunately population three was burned, ”he told a news conference on Thursday.
“We already have physics teachers and we are looking for intelligent teachers,” the police chief continued.
The UN ambassador said in the statement that several “potential perpetrators” of the president’s assassination had taken refuge in two buildings in Port-au-Prince and that they were surrounded by police.
Two police officers in a hot seat
The Port-au-Prince’s attorney general announced Thursday that at least two senior police officers directly responsible for the state president’s security have been summoned to justice.
Mr. Pete-Ford Claude, Commissioner of the Government of the Capital; Moss was really surprised about the apparent inaction – or lack of reaction – of the agents responsible for ensuring safety.
“I spent a day at the president’s house. I did not see any police other than the President and his wife. If you were responsible for the president’s security, where would you be? What did you do for the president to avoid this fate? He asked.
In the country, everyone was searching Thursday, with shops, commercial banks, petrol pumps and small businesses closing their doors in the major Haitian metropolis.
The Port-au-Prince airport was closed, as was the Dominican Republic border.
In front of a police station in Bettieville, a suburb of Port-au-Prince, residents, for their part, praised police for their arrest and called for the attackers to be killed.
According to the US ambassador to Haiti, the commando was created by “professional” hired assassins posing as officers of the US Drug Enforcement Administration.
- Listen to an interview with Salmers Lars, Lecturer in Political Science at UQAM and Deputy Director of the US Laboratory on QUB Radio:
The assassination instantly alarmed the international community, as US President Joe Biden and the Pope condemned the “horrific” act, while the UN condemned it. The Security Council requested that in addition to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s ongoing inspections in Iran, that it monitor Iran’s compliance with “the steps required by the IAEA Board”. It met in a hurry in the middle of Thursday behind closed doors.
The political vacuum
The attack further destabilizes America’s poorest country, which is plagued by insecurity.
Questions about hunting down the perpetrators of the attack include those concerned about the future of the country, starting with its administration.
Two men claim to lead the country, which currently has a population of 11 million, more than half of whom are under the age of 20.
One of the last political gestures of Joanne Moss, who died at the age of 53, was to appoint a new prime minister, Ariel Henry, on Monday. He has not yet taken office.
The political vacuum
The attack further destabilizes the poorest country in the United States, which is already facing a dual political and security crisis, and is vulnerable to insecurity and kidnapping in order to recover, especially by gangs serving virtual sentences.
Questions about hunting down the perpetrators of the attack include those about the future of the country, starting with its administration.
Two men claim to lead the country, which currently has a population of 11 million, more than half of whom are under 20 years of age.
- Listen to an article by Felix Seguin, a journalist with the Quebec Intelligence Bureau on QUB Radio:
But just hours after he was assassinated, interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph himself declared a state of siege, giving the executive reinforced powers. The latter lasts two weeks.
“Have so many prime ministers been appointed in the country?” Asked Ariel Henry, promising that Claude Joseph was the only foreign minister.
The political opposition also accused Claude Joseph of monopolizing power.
UN Ambassador Helen La Lyme said on Thursday that Claude Joseph represented the power of attorney until Ariel Henry was sworn in, citing an article in the Haitian constitution that states, “The cabinet, headed by the prime minister, exercises executive power until another president is elected.”
Human Rights Defender Mr.e Kedian Jean described to the AFP that he “doubted” the interim prime minister’s interest in declaring a state of siege, which led him to see “an assassination plot in advance.”
The country is mired in an institutional crisis in any case. Jovnell Moss has not held an election since coming to power in early 2017, and the country has not had a parliament since January 2020.
Faced with passive accusation and severe distrust from the majority of civil society in dealing with the crisis, he ruled mainly by decree.