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Haitian President Jovenel Moise was assassinated early this morning at his residence.
Haitian President Jovenel Moise was assassinated early this morning at his residence. Photo: Alex Wong/Agence France Presse

Haiti's President Jovenel Moise assassinated

The government confirmed that "a group of unidentified individuals" broke into his private residence and assassinated him.

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Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph confirmed that Haitian President Jovenel Moise was assassinated early this morning at his residence in the Pelerin neighborhood of Port-au-Prince.

The assault was carried out by a group of armed men, so far unidentified, and also left the first lady, Martine Moise, wounded by gunshot. 

"Just this morning, at one o'clock in the morning, July 7, a group of unidentified persons, speaking in Spanish and English, assassinated the President of the Republic. The president has died of his wounds," the interim prime minister confirmed in a statement.

Joseph called on the population to remain calm and described this event as "odious, inhuman and barbaric." He also said he was confident that "democracy and Republic will win” in a context of increased political tensions.

The tragedy adds to a political crisis Haiti has endured since 2018, amid a deep security crisis in the country. Added to this is Moise's denunciation of a possible coup d'état planned by the opposition with the support of judges.

Moise had been governing Haiti for two years, but since last year, had communicated he would remain in office until February 7, 2022. It came despite a large part of the population and some political forces rejecting the decision and considering his government illegitimate. 

Following the news of the assassination, the Port-au Prínce airport was closed and airlines flying to the Haitian capital had to suspend or divert their flights.

In addition, the President of the Dominican Republic, Luis Abinader, has closed its border with Haiti, and ordered reinforced surveillance in the area. From the White House, President Joe Biden described the attack as "horrible" and "tragic" and confirmed that information is still being gathered about what happened.

The assassination took place two months before the presidential and legislative elections, in which Moise would not participate.

Editor's Note: A previous version of this article stated that First Lady Martine Moise had also been killed in the attack. That is not true, she has since been transfered to Miami for further medical attention.
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