January 17, 2022

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Seventeen arrests and almost as many questions after the assassination of the President

The investigation continues Port O Prince This Friday
Assassination of Haitian President Mystery thickened over the identity of the sponsors who sent the armed commando of 28 Colombians, Joanel Moss, 26 Colombians and
Two Americans of Haitian descent.

Seventeen people, including fifteen Colombians and two Americans, have been arrested in connection with the assassination of President Moss, who was hit by bullets at his home from Tuesday to Wednesday night, the country’s police said at a news conference Thursday evening.

Colombian ex-players involved?

“We are currently verifying the activities of two (…) and 15 Colombians who died in the (Haitian) police operation,” said General George, who resigned between 2018 and 2020, Colombian Police Chief Luis Vargas told a news conference in Bogot.

All three Colombians were accused of being members of the commando, and eight more were said to be Haitian police director general Leon Charles – the results are slightly different, according to official sources.

The weapons and equipment allegedly used by the attackers, moles, laptops and a Colombian passport were later recovered by police and displayed to the press, with several suspects lined up against a wall and handcuffed.

Acting Prime Minister Claude Joseph spoke by telephone with Colombian President Evan Duke on Friday, pledging “all the co-operation of his country in advancing the investigation”, a statement from his office said. Colombian Defense Minister Diego Molano announced Thursday evening that at least six commando mercenaries are former Colombian soldiers.

“We need to know”

Port-au-Prince and its environs, which had been paralyzed for several days, awoke Friday with apparent and dangerous calm, with Agence France-Presse spotted on the spot.

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Public transport, banks, petrol pumps, street shops and public administration returned to normal, saving basic necessities by making fun of people in supermarkets.

“I do not know what’s going to happen tomorrow or in the country, so I’m getting ready for the worst days. I’m primarily buying anything I can keep for several days,” Margery explains as she and her husband shop at a supermarket in Port-au-Prince.

Killers from the outside

In the country, however, everyone was on the lookout, trying to understand how such a horrific attack on the head of state could have taken place.

“These are foreigners who came to this country. We Haitians are shocked, ”a resident of the capital told AFP. “We need to know who is behind all this, their names, and the background behind the way justice is doing its job,” he added.

Port-au-Prince’s attorney general, Meh Bed-Ford Claude, announced Thursday that senior police officers directly responsible for the security of the Haitian president are on the scene and are being called to justice.

The victim was not a police officer

“I do not see any policemen other than the president and his wife. If you were responsible for the president’s security, where were you? What did you do to avoid this fate for the president?” Asked me, Bed-Ford Claude.

Others wondered about the involvement of these police officers, which added to the confusion. “Republican President Joanel Moss was assassinated by his security agents. He was not killed by Colombians. The latter were Haitian government contractors,” former Senator Steven Benoit told Radio Magic 9 on Friday.

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The attack further destabilizes America’s poorest country, which is plagued by insecurity. Two men claim to lead the country, which currently has a population of 11 million, more than half of whom are under 20 years of age.

The caretaker Prime Minister takes office

One of the last political gestures of Joanne Moss, who died at the age of 53, was the appointment of an eighteenth prime minister, Ariel Henry, on Monday. But just hours after the tragedy, interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph announced a two-week siege, handing over strengthened powers to the executive.

If the opposition accuses Claude Joseph of seizing power, the UN ambassador to Haiti, Ariel Henry, has not yet taken office because he felt he was in charge.

The country is already mired in an institutional crisis: Jovnell Moss has not held an election since coming to power in early 2017, and the country has not had a parliament since January 2020.

Moreover, after observing a 24-hour hiatus following the assassination of the president, armed groups resumed clashes on Friday, blocking traffic near Port-au-Prince.