Haitian police deny link of interim prime minister to President Moise's assassination

WION Web Team
Port-au-Prince, Haiti Published: Jul 16, 2021, 05:22 PM(IST)

In this file photo former Haitian President Jovenel Moise speaks at the swearing in ceremony for Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant at the National Palace in Port-au-Prince Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

The apparent ease with which a hit squad entered the Haitian leader's residence in Port-au-Prince and shot him dead, with no injuries to his bodyguards, has raised suspicions that the July 7 attack may have been an inside job

The assassination of Jovenel Moise by armed mercenaries was planned in the neighbouring Dominican Republic, say Haitian police, who announced the detention of the slain president's chief bodyguard and three other members of his security detail.

The apparent ease with which a hit squad entered the Haitian leader's residence in Port-au-Prince and shot him dead, with no injuries to his bodyguards, has raised suspicions that the July 7 attack may have been an inside job. 

The head of security of Haiti's National Palace has been arrested and is in police custody, said the chief of Haiti's national police, Leon Charles, on Thursday.

Charles told a news conference that Dimitri Herard was detained and is being questioned about why the attackers did not meet more resistance at the president's home.

"The head of security at the national palace (Herard) was called upon by a general (police) inspection. This is regarding an administrative investigation. There was a protective measure. (Head of security) was revoked. Now there is a second measure in which (head of security) has been isolated, while we wait for the next stage," said Charles.

Haitian President Jovenel Moise was shot dead at his home on July 7 by what Haitian authorities have called an assassination unit, including 26 Colombians and two Haitian Americans.

Colombian police said on Thursday they were searching for three additional Colombians who had also been in Haiti and neighbouring Dominican Republic.

Colombia has stressed that Haitian authorities are leading the investigation.

Vargas said he had no information about reports on the Colombian Caracol television station on Wednesday implicating Haiti's Acting Prime Minister Claude Joseph in the assassination. Joseph has not commented on the reports.

The assassination, which came during a period of heightened gang violence and political instability, has plunged Haiti into confusion and raised fears of an explosion in Covid-19 cases.

Authorities in Port-au-Prince had requested military assistance from the United States amid the crisis, but President Joe Biden on Thursday ruled out sending US troops to Haiti, saying it was "not on the agenda," though security would be bolstered at the US embassy. 

The United States has sent members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), State Department, Justice Department, National Security Council and Department of Homeland Security to Haiti. 

(With inputs from agencies)

Read in App