Haitian National Police murdered four of the suspected mercenaries reportedly behind the killing of President Jovenel Moise Wednesday morning, and two others were arrested. At the same time, the force had the other murderers trapped, and they were exchanging gunshots, the head of the police force, Leon Charles, said. He said during a press conference surrounded by members of Haitian administration, including the interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph, “At the moment, I’m speaking to you now the police is engaged in a war.”
The police head stated that the three police officers who the killers had detained had been released. He did not provide more details or say what triggered the police to be held hostage by the attackers. Some of the suspected mercenaries had fled to Pelerin, the neighborhood where the president resided, Leon said, and the police had blocked the road leading to that area. “We will continue to hunt them down. Either they will be arrested, or they will be stopped in the exchange of fire. The chasing will continue,” he added.
The ongoing police investigation was expected to be conducted throughout the night the crime happened, the communications Minister Pradel Henriquez said. He reminded the people of Haiti that there had been a declaration of a state of siege that limits media freedom and involves a curfew. “There is information spreading on social media that is not in favor of what is happening here,” he said.
Henriquez noted that a number of the reportedly killers were Haitian. He also reiterated that among the mercenaries were people who spoke English and Spanish. Moise’s guards were his own personal security, from a specialized unit of the Haitian National Police allocated to the head of the state homestead. But some sources report that there have always been concerns about president Moise’s security being insufficient, which at one point forced him to outsource foreigners to improve his security. Last year in August, the chief of the Port-au-Prince Bar Association was shot near the president’s home. No one has been charged with the murder.
Haiti’s largest newspaper, Le Nouvelliste, reported that the president’s body was riddled with bullets. There are also some signs showing he may have been tortured. “We found twelve holes in Moise’s body. His office and bedroom were ransacked. We found him laying on his back, in blue pants, a white shirt full of blood, his mouth open, his left eye gouged out. There was a bullet impact at his forehead, one in each nipple, three at the hip, one in the abdomen,” Carl Henry Destin, Petion-Ville deputy justice of the peace, told Le Nouvelliste. The judge told the newspaper the bullet injuries were from high-quality weapons and with 9mm rounds. No one else was hurt at the president’s home apart from the first lady, Henry said.
However, the police did not provide much detail on the suspects’ murder or of the arrested suspects. But they confirmed that some of them spoke Spanish, as earlier reported by the acting Prime Minister. We are still gathering information to confirm the events.