CNN: Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise was killed during an attack on his private residence early on Wednesday, according to the country’s acting Prime Minister Claude Joseph, who has declared a state of siege in the country.
The attackers stormed Moise’s home at around 1 a.m. and fatally wounded the head of state, according to the acting prime minister, who described the assassination as a “heinous, inhumane and barbaric act.”
Haiti’s first lady, Martine Moise, was shot in the attack and is being evacuated to a hospital in Miami for treatment, said Haiti’s ambassador to the US.
Her condition is stable but critical, Ambassador Bocchit Edmond said in a press briefing.
Haitian National Police have detained two suspects and killed four others connected to the assassination, Edmond told CNN en Español late Wednesday.
“We are trying to move forward and see how we can identify more of those who participated in this horrible act,” he said.
Edmond added that the suspects who were arrested and killed were foreigners, and police are in the process of determining their nationalities.
He believes the suspects received assistance from Haitian nationals due to vehicles they used to get to the presidential residence where Moise was killed.
Earlier, Edmond said in the press briefing that the attackers are believed to be “mercenaries” and referred to them as “well-trained killers.”
Video from the scene showed them speaking Spanish and they presented themselves as Drug and Enforcement Administration (DEA) Agents, he said.
“I believe they are fake DEA agents,” he told reporters Wednesday.
“We don’t know how they came in,” Edmond said, adding that they did not know if the attackers were still in the country. He said if they have left, it would be via a land border with the Dominican Republic because Haiti would have detected a plane leaving and the airport has been closed since the attack. He said the airport would reopen “once we have this situation under control.”
The country has been reeling from violence for weeks. Addressing the nation in a televised statement, the acting prime minister Joseph declared a “state of siege” in Haiti and pleaded with citizens to remain calm.
“Me and all the ministers have been working since the news broke and we want to assure you we will bring the killers of the president to justice,” he added. “Please stay calm and let the authorities do their work. We don’t want the country to plunge into chaos. This is a very sad day for our nation and for our people.”
The state of siege is the middle of three levels of emergency under Haitian law, alongside the lower “state of emergency” and the highest level referred to as the “state of war.”
Under the state of siege regime, national borders are closed and martial law temporarily is imposed, with Haiti’s military and national police empowered to enforce the law.