Biden calls assassination of President of Haiti Jovenel Moise 'horrific'

Biden calls assassination of President of Haiti Jovenel Moise 'horrific'
Biden calls assassination of President of Haiti Jovenel Moise 'horrific'

President Joe Biden on Wednesday called the  assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise 'horrific' and 'very worrisome' but said more information was needed on what happened. 

Moise was killed by gunmen claiming to be DEA agents in a night-time raid on his home that also left his wife seriously injured, according to reports. 

'We need a lot more information but it is very worrisome about the state of Haiti,' Biden told reporters at the White House before he left on a trip to Illinois.

In a formal statement issued by the White House Biden said that 'we are shocked and saddened to hear of the horrific assassination of President Jovenel Moïse and the attack on First Lady Martine Moïse.  

'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,' he added.  

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President Joe Biden  called the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise 'horrific' and 'very worrisome'

President Joe Biden  called the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise 'horrific' and 'very worrisome'

A group of 'foreigners', some of whom spoke English and Spanish, broke into  Moise's home in the hills above Port-au-Prince at around 1am on Wednesday, according to a statement by country's prime minister.

The 53-year-old was shot dead and the First Lady Martine, 47, was wounded in what PM Claude Joseph called a 'hateful, inhumane and barbaric act.' Haiti's embassy in the Dominican Republic said the First Lady has since been flown to another country for treatment.

In footage purportedly recorded by a witness, someone with an American accent shouts into a megaphone: 'DEA operation. Everybody stand down. DEA operation. Everybody back up, stand down.'

Gunfire then erupts in the video uploaded to Instagram by someone who says they were in the Pelerin 5 neighbourhood, where the president's house is located. 

The assailants were pretending to be from the US Drugs Enforcement Agency (DEA) and were 'mercenaries,' a government source told The Miami Herald.

Residents reported hearing high-powered rounds and saw men dressed in black sprinting through the neighborhood. There were also claims of a grenade going off and drones being deployed. 

Further videos purportedly taken by a neighbor show men with rifles arriving outside the president's house. It is not clear whether they are from the country's security forces or if they are the assassins.

PM Joseph, who earlier said he had taken charge of the country, declared a 'state of siege' on Wednesday which grants him additional powers.

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'II have just chaired an extraordinary council of ministers meeting and we have decided to declare a state of siege throughout the country,' the prime minister said.

He said that the police and armed forces were taking 'all measures to guarantee the continuity of the State and protect the Nation.' 

The President of Haiti Jovenel Moise has been assassinated in a nighttime raid by gunmen claiming to be DEA agents in a nighttime raid on his home that also left his wife seriously injured, according to reports (pictured with his wife Martine in October 2018)

The President of Haiti Jovenel Moise has been assassinated in a nighttime raid by gunmen claiming to be DEA agents in a nighttime raid on his home that also left his wife seriously injured, according to reports (pictured with his wife Martine in October 2018)

Footage circulating in Haitian WhatsApp groups purports to show men with rifles arriving at the president's home last night

Footage purports to show men arriving at the president's home last night

Footage circulating in Haitian WhatsApp groups purports to show men with rifles arriving at the president's home last night

Footage circulating online purportedly taken by a neighbour of the president shows men with rifles arriving outside the property

Footage purportedly taken by a neighbour of the president shows men with rifles arriving outside the property

Footage circulating online purportedly taken by a neighbour of the president shows men with rifles arriving outside the property

A car riddled with bullet holes outside the late president's home in the hills about Port-au-Prince on Wednesday

A car riddled with bullet holes outside the late president's home in the hills about Port-au-Prince on Wednesday

Presidential guards patrol the entrance to the residence of late Haitian President Jovenel Moise in Port-au-Prince

Presidential guards patrol the entrance to the residence of late Haitian President Jovenel Moise in Port-au-Prince

Haitian security forces stand guard at the entrance to the presidential residence

Haitian security forces stand guard at the entrance to the presidential residence 

Ammunition casings lay on the ground near the entrance to the house of late Haitian President Jovenel Moise

Ammunition casings lay on the ground near the entrance to the house of late Haitian President Jovenel Moise

The entrance to Mr Moise's private residence which was raided by gunmen in the early hours of Wednesday

The entrance to Mr Moise's private residence which was raided by gunmen in the early hours of Wednesday

Military vehicles block the entrance to Petion Ville, the neighborhood where the late Haitian President Jovenel Moise lived in Port-au-Prince on Wednesday

Military vehicles block the entrance to Petion Ville, the neighborhood where the late Haitian President Jovenel Moise lived in Port-au-Prince on Wednesday

Soldiers patrol in Petion Ville, the neighbourhood where the late Haitian President Jovenel Moise lived in Port-au-Prince, on Wednesday after the shooting

Soldiers patrol in Petion Ville, the neighbourhood where the late Haitian President Jovenel Moise lived in Port-au-Prince, on Wednesday after the shooting

A group of gunmen, some of whom allegedly spoke in Spanish, broke into Mr Moise's home at around 1am on Wednesday, according to a statement from Prime Minister Claude Joseph. He said that Haiti remained under the control of the police and armed forces and 'all measures are taken to guarantee the continuity of the State and protect the Nation.'

A group of gunmen, some of whom allegedly spoke in Spanish, broke into Mr Moise's home at around 1am on Wednesday, according to a statement from Prime Minister Claude Joseph. He said that Haiti remained under the control of the police and armed forces and 'all measures are taken to guarantee the continuity of the State and protect the Nation.'

US-based Haitian singer-songwriter Wyclef Jean tweeted about the assassination on Wednesday morning

US-based Haitian singer-songwriter Wyclef Jean tweeted about the assassination on Wednesday morning

It comes after Moise claimed police had foiled an assassination plot in February amid massive protests in the country over claims the president was acting like a dictator and refusing to hold elections. 

In response, the former auto parts dealer had 23 people arrested who he said were behind the plot including a top judge and a police officer. 

'There was an attempt on my life,' Moise said in a national address at the time. 'I thank my head of security at the palace. The goal of these people was to make an attempt on my life. That plan was aborted.' 

World leaders condemn the assassination and warn more unrest could follow 

Colombian President Ivan Duque condemned what he called a 'cowardly act' and expressed solidarity with Haiti. He called for an urgent mission by the Organization of American States 'to protect democratic order.'

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted that he was 'shocked and saddened at the death of President Moise.'

'Our condolences are with his family and the people of Haiti,' he added. 'This is an abhorrent act and I call for calm at this time.'

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez condemned the assassination.

'I'd like to make an appeal for political unity to get out of this terrible trauma that the country is going through,' Sanchez said during a visit to Latvia.

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell warned that the shooting risked the start of 'instability and a spiral of violence.'

Borrell added: 'The perpetrators of this assassination must be found and brought to justice.'  

Dominican President Luis Abinader condemned the killing, saying on Twitter the crime "undermines the democratic order in Haiti and the region."

He offered condolences to the family of Moise and his wife Martine, who was wounded, and to the Haitian people. 

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen offered her condolences in a statement on Twitter.

'We wish the First Lady a prompt recovery, & stand together with our ally Haiti in this difficult time,' Tsai wrote. Haiti is one of the few countries in the world that maintain formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, which China claims as its own.

 

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Moise's death risks throwing the country into total disarray after months of violent demonstrations and claims that the president had used armed gangsters to stay in power.  More than 14,700 people have fled their homes due to the spate of killings.

There are just 10 elected officials in the country and there is no legal framework for who should take power in the event of the president's death. 

Some reports suggested that the next in line of succession should be the head of the Supreme court, but the judge died recently of Covid-19.

For acting PM Joseph to formally replace

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