Haiti President Jovenel Moïse was killed and his wife injured in an attack on the couple’s home early Wednesday morning (July 7).
via: NBC News
Claude Joseph, the acting prime minister, said that a group of “highly trained and heavily armed” people attacked Moïse’s residence around 1 a.m. Wednesday morning, shooting him and his wife.
Joseph described the attack as a “hateful, inhumane and barbaric act.”
“Haiti has lost a true statesman,” Joseph said. “We will ensure that those responsible for this heinous act are swiftly brought to justice.”
Joseph called on the international community to launch an investigation into the killing and asked the United Nations to hold a Security Council meeting on the attack “as soon as possible.”
“We urge Haitians to show restraint and maintain a peaceful environment over the coming days,” Joseph said.
Moïse was elected in 2016 and took office in February 2017.
President Joe Biden said the White House was “shocked and saddened.”
“We condemn this heinous act, and I am sending my sincere wishes for First Lady Moïse’s recovery. The United States offers condolences to the people of Haiti, and we stand ready to assist as we continue to work for a safe and secure Haiti,” Biden said.
The U.S. Embassy said it was instructing staff to stay at its compounds in Port-au-Prince until further notice and advised Americans in the country to avoid unnecessary travel.
The Caribbean country of around 11 million is one of the poorest in the Americas. It has been gripped by violence and gridlock in the last few months. Protests against the president turned violent in February.
Protests and civil unrest in the country calling for Moïse’s resignation began in 2018. The 53-year-old began serving a five-year term in 2017. However, he ruled by decree for over a year after Haiti failed to hold legislative elections and was accused of becoming more authoritarian by political opponents after trying to push through a controversial constitutional reform.