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Haiti president assassination: Ex-official among suspects

July 16, 2021

A former Haitian Justice Ministry official is now a suspect in the investigation into the assassination of Haiti's President Jovenel Moise.

Haitian police officers stand near a mural of assassinated President Jovenel Moise
The list of suspects in the assassination of Haiti's president continues to growImage: Joseph Odelyn/AP Photo/picture alliance

Colombia's chief of police, General Jorge Vargas, believes former Haitian official Joseph Felix Badio could have ordered the assassination of Haiti's President Jovenel Moise. Moise was shot dead in his private residence by a group of armed gunmen on July 7. The circumstances surrounding his killing remain murky and it has plunged the country deeper into turmoil.

What we know so far

Gunmen raided Moise's private residence in the pre-dawn attack. The president was shot multiple times and his wife was critically injured.

The gunmen managed to flee the scene but were tracked down by police and apprehended following a gunfight.

Haitian police managed to arrest most of the 26 Colombians who are suspected of being part of the attack.

The Colombian connection

According to Colombia's Defense Minister Diego Molano, the Colombians suspected of being involved in Moise's assassination are former members of the armed forces, who had gone to Haiti to work as bodyguards.

The Pentagon said a small number of those detained had received training with the US military while serving as members of Colombia's military.

Suspects in the assassination of Haiti's president are paraded before the media
Haitian police managed to arrest most of the gunmen suspected of assassinating President Jovenel MoiseImage: Joseph Odelyn/AP Photo/picture alliance

The suspected masterminds

While Colombian authorities point the finger at former Haitian Justice Ministry official Jospeh Felix Badio, authorities in Haiti have detained a Florida-based doctor, and are accusing him of being one of the masterminds. Haiti's national police chief Leon Charles has identified former senator John Joel Joseph as being a key role player. Moise's head of security, Dimitri Herard, has also been taken into custody.

Crowds of Haitians react with anger following the assassination of their president
President Jovenel Moise's assassination has plunged the country deeper into turmoilImage: Estailove St-Val/Reuters

The president's assassination has caused huge political uncertainty, and the interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph has appealed to the US to help guard critical infrastructure and national keypoints. While the US has given no pledges when it comes to providing security, it has said it will assist with any investigation.

kb/sri (Reuters, AP)