WORLD NEWS

Six in custody after the assassination of Haiti's President Jovenel Moise

The death of the Haitian President has been met with swift action as local law enforcement kills four and captures six suspects, including one American citizen.

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Six men in custody after the assassination of Haiti's President Jovenel Moise
Jean Marc Hervé Abélard EFE

Officials in Haiti have confirmed that law enforcement has killed four people and arrested six others as they scramble to uncover the perpetrators of the assassination of President Jovenel Moise.

The police are also surrounding two other buildings which they believe are housing more suspects, according to Helen La Lime, special representative for the United Nations’ secretary-general for Haiti.

The death of Moise has been met with a swift action from Haitian authorities, with acting Prime Minister Claude Joseph describing the Wednesday morning attack as a "hateful, inhumane and barbaric act."

At least one American arrested in connection to the assassination

The New York Times reports that at least one American is included in the six detained suspects, seeming to confirm the Haitian officials’ claim that “foreigners” were involved in the attack.

That man is thought to be James Solanges, a Haitian-American and Florida resident according to the country’s minister of election, Mathias Pierre. Photographs of some of the suspects being taking into custody have surfaced online but it has not yet been possible to identify Solanges.

Pierre has not given any more insight into Solanges’ supposed role in the devastating attack nor give any details about the suspect’s background. However a charity website established by Solanges in 2019 describes himself as a “certified diplomatic agent” and a budding politician.

Haiti under state of martial law after President’s death

The effort to catch the perpetrators has not been limited to law enforcement and angry civilians have taken to the streets to join the hunt. They have not only rounded up some suspects but have also reportedly set fire to the vehicles believed to have been used in the attack, hampering the chance of police gathering any evidence from the scene.

New powers invoked by Joseph give police the power to enter homes, restrict gatherings and take special security measures after he declared an “état de siege.” The assassination of the President came after months of violence had gripped the country, which is frequently rated one of the world’s most troubled.

By Thursday morning a large crowd had gathered outside of a police station in Port-au-Prince, the nation’s capital. Haitian police chief Leon Charles addressed those in attendance to inform them of the deaths and arrests of a number of suspects. Some in the crowd called for vigilante justice in response to the attack, with some reportedly shouting: “Burn them.”

Haitian judge Carl Henry Destin has revealed to Nouvelliste newspaper that the attackers had posed as US Drug Enforcement Administration agents when bursting into the President’s home. Both the US and Haitian officials have insisted that the attack was in no way related to the DEA.