President Jovenel Moise, 53, assassinated at his private residence in an attack in the early hours of Wednesday, the interim prime minister of Haiti, Claude Joseph, said. Moise’s wife, Martine Moise, 47, was injured in the attack and is being hospitalized. Her condition was not immediately clear. Some unidentified individuals, some of them speaking Spanish, attacked the head of the state’s home and fatally injured the president. He succumbed to those gunshots injuries. The assailants identified themselves as DEA agents.
The streets of Port-au-prince were empty in the hours the attack happened, but some people raided businesses in one area. Gunshots could still be heard in the capital after the attack. A resident who lives near Moise’s home said she heard the attack. “I thought there was an earthquake; there was so much shooting,” said the resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity because she fears endangering her life. “The president had issues with a lot of people, but this is not how we expected him to die. This is something I wouldn’t wish on any Haitian.” We are yet to confirm the incident.
The prime minister said he had taken charge of the country and that the police and the army had taken all measures to control the security situation of Haiti, adding: “Democracy and the republic will win.” He called the act ‘hateful, inhuman, and barbaric.’ The neighboring Dominican Republic said it was closing the border it shares with Haiti on the island of Hispaniola.
The attack occurred amidst an escalating wave of political instability, gang violence, and humanitarian crisis in the Caribbean Nation. It also comes after president Moise claimed that the police had prevented an assassination plan in February over a claim he was ruling by decree. He had ruled by decree for more than a year after the nation failed to hold presidential elections, and the opposition demanded his resignation in recent months. It was unclear who would replace Moise as the president. He had appointed a new prime minister this week who is yet to be sworn in.
Leaders’ worldwide condemned the attack and appealed for calm. The U.S. Embassy in the country said it was restricting U. S. Officials to its compounds and that the embassy would be closed because of the ongoing insecurities in Haiti. The Biden administration called the attack ‘horrific and tragic’ and said it was still gathering information on the event.