Haiti assassins claim they wanted to arrest the president rather than kill him

Haiti assassins claim they wanted to arrest the president rather than kill him
Haiti assassins claim they wanted to arrest the president rather than kill him

A group of Colombians and Haitian Americans suspected of assassinating Haitian President Jovenel Moise have reportedly told investigators they were there to arrest him, not kill him.  

Moise was shot dead early on Wednesday at his Port-au-Prince home by what Haitian authorities say was a unit of assassins made up of 26 Colombians and two Haitian Americans, plunging the troubled Caribbean nation into deeper turmoil.

'They probably were watching and waiting for the opportunity for them to do it,' said Investigative Judge Clément Noël, who was among the first to question the two Haitian-Americans among the 19 suspects detained so far.

James A. Solages, 35, and Vincent Joseph, 56, both from South Florida, insisted that the plan was not to assassinate him.

Their mission, Noël and another person who debriefed the men said they were told, was to 'arrest the president (at his home) and go to the presidential palace with him.'

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The two Haitian Americans 'said they were there, but they didn't go to kill the president,' Noël said, according to The Miami Herald

'They said they knew what happened, but they didn't participate in the killing. They were there to translate.'   

Jovenal Moise, the president of Hait, was murdered in the early hours of Wednesday at his home in the capital city, Port-au-Prince

Jovenal Moise, the president of Hait, was murdered in the early hours of Wednesday at his home in the capital city, Port-au-Prince

Haitian President Jovenel Moïse and First Lady Martine are pictured together in 2017. Moïse was riddled with 12 bullet holes and had his eye gouged out during Wednesday's brutal attack, which killed him and seriously injured his wife

Haitian President Jovenel Moïse and First Lady Martine are pictured together in 2017. Moïse was riddled with 12 bullet holes and had his eye gouged out during Wednesday's brutal attack, which killed him and seriously injured his wife

Suspects in the assassination of Haiti's President Jovenel Moise are shown to the media in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on Thursday

Suspects in the assassination of Haiti's President Jovenel Moise are shown to the media in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on Thursday

Weaponry, mobile phones, passports and other items are being shown to the media along with suspects in the assassination

Weaponry, mobile phones, passports and other items are being shown to the media along with suspects in the assassination

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Police lined up the 17 assassination suspects, including two American citizens and 15 Colombians, behind a table displaying an array of firearms, machetes, sledgehammers and several Colombian passports

Police lined up the 17 assassination suspects, including two American citizens and 15 Colombians, behind a table displaying an array of firearms, machetes, sledgehammers and several Colombian passports

Haitian-born American citizens James Solages, 35, (above) and Joseph Vincent, 55, are said to have confessed to being involved in Wednesday's early morning raid at the president's mansion near Port-au-Prince

Haitian-born American citizens James Solages, 35, (above) and Joseph Vincent, 55, are said to have confessed to being involved in Wednesday's early morning raid at the president's mansion near Port-au-Prince

James Solages is a US citizen of Haitian descent and president of a local charity

Solages told authorities he was hired as a translator and the plan was to kidnap not kill the president

Solages (pictured) and Vincent - who both live in Florida - told authorities 'they were translators'

The murder and uncertainty about who hatched the plot is the latest in a succession of blows to hit the struggling country, which has appealed for international help. 

Washington has so far rebuffed Haiti's request for troops, though a senior U.S. official said on Sunday that Washington was sending a technical team to assess the situation.

Citing people who had spoken to some of the 19 suspects detained so far, the Miami Herald said they said their mission was to arrest Moise and take him to the presidential palace.

A source close to the investigation said the two Haitian Americans, James Solages and Joseph Vincent, told investigators they were translators for the Colombian commando unit that had an arrest warrant. 

But when they arrived, they found him dead.

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 near Port-au-Prince on Wednesday

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

The President of Haiti Jovenel Moise was shot dead in his home in the Pelerin 5 neighbourhood in the hills above Port-au-Prince

The President of Haiti Jovenel Moise was shot dead in his home in the Pelerin 5 neighbourhood in the hills above Port-au-Prince

Haitian police did not reply to a request for comment.

The news follows reports that some of the Colombians had said they had gone to work as security personnel on Haiti, including for Moise himself.

The Miami Herald reported the detained Colombians said they were hired to work in Haiti by Miami-based company CTU Security, run by Venezuelan emigre Antonio Enmanuel Intriago Valera.

Neither CTU nor Intriago could be reached for comment. One phone number associated with the company in public records sent calls to an answering machine that made a reference to the fictional TV

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