Haiti President Jovenel Moïse assassinated at his home
Jovenel Moïse, the President of Haiti, was assassinated at his private residence in the early hours of Wednesday near capital Port-au-Prince. The assassination was confirmed by the Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph, who said he is now in-charge of the Caribbean country. Moïse's wife and the country's First Lady, Martine Moïse, suffered bullet injuries and is currently hospitalized, according to the statement from Joseph.
The assassination took place around 1 am on Wednesday (local time), when a group of armed intruders fatally shot Moïse in the head, according to reports. The unidentified men, some of whom allegedly spoke Spanish, also attacked the First Lady. Joseph, the Interim PM, called the attack an "inhumane and barbaric act," assuring the police forces and the army had the situation under control.
"The President was injured and succumbed to those injuries," Joseph said in an interview with Radio Caraibes. "All measures are being taken to guarantee the continuity of the state and to protect the nation." Meanwhile, the US Embassy said it would be closed on Wednesday.
Moïse, aged 53, had assumed office on February 7, 2017. He had been ruling by decree for more than one year even as Opposition leaders and experts had been contending that his term had expired. In fact, there were widespread protests in the country, demanding Moïse's removal as the President. He, however, refused to step down, reiterating that his term would end next year.
Haiti has struggled to rebuild in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake that happened 11 years ago. In recent months, the country's political, social, and economic troubles have deepened, and gang violence has increased. Inflation and food scarcity have also been on the rise in the country of 1.13 crore people. Haiti was set to hold general elections later this year.
World leaders have expressed shock and condemned the killing of the Haiti President. "This is an abhorrent act and I call for calm at this time," Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, tweeted this evening. United States' White House press secretary Jen Psaki called the assassination a "tragic attack." "We're still assessing right now...It's a horrific crime," Psaki said.