Three days after Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was riddled with bullets at his home, the country’s authorities said, Friday, July 9, that they had asked the United States and the UN to send troops to secure strategic sites. lest they be sabotaged, while the mystery remained about his murder.
If we know that the armed commando that executed the president was made up of 28 people (26 Colombians and two Americans of Haitian origin), no details have emerged on the reasons for this act or on the identity of his sponsors. Senior police and army commands in Colombia said at a press conference in Bogota that at least 17 former Colombian soldiers were suspected of being involved in the assassination.
Fearing that vital infrastructure such as ports, airports, oil terminals or the transport of petroleum products could be targeted to create confusion, the Haitian government asked Washington and the United Nations to send troops to secure them.
“After the assassination of the president, we thought that the mercenaries could destroy some infrastructure in order to create chaos in the country. During a conversation with the US Secretary of State and the UN, we made this request ”, told Agence France-Presse (AFP) Mathias Pierre, minister responsible for electoral matters.
The US State Department confirmed, through a spokesperson, that the Haitian government had “Requested security and investigative assistance”. “We remain in regular contact with Haitian officials to discuss how the United States can help”, according to the State Department.
A diplomatic source at the UN had earlier indicated that the Haitian authorities had made this request in order to protect the airport and the oil installations, but that a Security Council resolution was necessary for this purpose.
Seventeen individuals were arrested – fifteen Colombians and two Americans – for their involvement in the murder of President Moïse, riddled with bullets at his home on the night of Tuesday to Wednesday, according to Haitian police. Three Colombians also accused of being members of the commando were killed by the police, while eight others were still at large, said Léon Charles, director general of the Haitian police, although the results differed slightly according to other official sources.
The weapons and equipment allegedly used by the attackers, including machetes, laptops and Colombian passports, were recovered by the police, then exhibited to the press, as were several suspects lined up against a wall and handcuffed.
Taipei for its part said Friday that 11 suspects had been arrested in the complex of the Taiwanese embassy in Port-au-Prince.
Without confirming arrests of US nationals, US says it will send FBI and Homeland Security officials to Port-au-Prince “As quickly as possible”.
Paralyzed for several days, Port-au-Prince and the surrounding areas woke up on Friday in apparent and precarious calm, AFP noted on the spot. Public transport, banks, petrol pumps, street shops and public administration started to function again, with people jostling in supermarkets to stock up on basic necessities. “I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow or the day after in the country, so I’m preparing for bad days. I buy as a priority anything that can be kept for several days », explains to AFP Marjory, who was shopping in a supermarket in Port-au-Prince.
In the country, however, everyone remained on the lookout, trying to understand how such an attack could have happened. Senior police officials, directly responsible for the security of the Haitian president, are particularly in the hot seat and summoned to justice, announced Thursday the chief prosecutor of Port-au-Prince, Mr.e Bed-Ford Claude. “I did not see any police victim, except the president and his wife. If you are responsible for the President’s security, where have you been? What did you do to avoid this fate for the president? “, asked Me Bed-Ford Claude. Others even wondered about the possible involvement of these police officers, adding to the confusion.
This attack further destabilizes the poorest country in the Americas, plagued by insecurity. Two men currently claim to lead the nation of 11 million people, more than half of whom are under 20. One of the last political gestures of Jovenel Moïse, who died at 53, was to appoint an umpteenth prime minister, Ariel Henry, on Monday. But a few hours after the tragedy, it was the transitional Prime Minister Claude Joseph who decreed a state of siege for two weeks, granting reinforced powers to the executive. While the opposition accused Mr. Joseph of grabbing power, the UN envoy to Haiti considered him to be the responsible authority, as Ariel Henry had not yet been sworn in at the time of the election. assassination.
The country was already plunged into an institutional crisis: Jovenel Moïse had not organized an election since coming to power in early 2017 and the country has not had a Parliament since January 2020.