US rebuffs Haiti troops request after president's assassination

WION Web Team
Port-au-Prince, HaitiEdited By: Moohita Kaur GargUpdated: Jul 10, 2021, 11:52 PM IST


Story highlights

The Haitian government requested the dispatch of troops to assist the national police with re-establishing security and protecting critical infrastructure

In spite of its pledge to assist with the investigation, the United States denied Haiti's request for troops to assist with securing key infrastructure following the suspected mercenary assassination of President Jovenel Moise.

Moise was shot dead early Wednesday morning at his home in Port-au-Prince by gunmen, escalating Haiti's political crisis and potentially worsening hunger, gang violence, and COVID-19.

On Wednesday, interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken talked about security assistance from the United States.

Haitian Elections Minister Mathias Pierre said a request for security assistance from the United States was also raised. Pierre said Haiti also requested forces from the UN Security Council.

At the moment, however, military assistance will not be provided by the United States, according to a senior administration official.

Haiti has requested the dispatch of troops to support the national police in reestablishing security and protecting critical infrastructure. 

Additionally, ensuring that the scheduled September 26 presidential and legislative elections can take place, Pierre said extra security reinforcements were requested.

A spokesman for the UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, Jose Luis Diaz, said that the UN security council's dispatch of troops would be decided by the fifteen members.

The Assassination 

Police in Haiti has confirmed that 26 Colombian and two Haitian-American mercenaries carried out the assassination. James Solages and Joseph Vincent, two Haitian-Americans from Florida, were identified.

In Petionville, a hillside suburb of the capital Port-au-Prince where Moise lived, a gun battle with the Haitian army led to the capture of 17 men, among them Solages and Vincent.

Police confirmed that three other people were killed, while eight gunmen remain on the loose. Authorities are looking for ringleaders of the assassination.

The authorities are yet to disclose how the assassins got past Moise's security detail or the motive behind the assassination. 

Since Moise taking office in 2017, he faced widespread protests; first over corruption charges, then for his economic management and eventually his increasing stronghold on power.

On Thursday, the White House pledged that the United States would send top FBI and Homeland Security officials to Haiti to assess the situation and see what they can do to help.

The State Department acknowledged that two US citizens were arrested in Haiti and said they are closely monitoring the situation.

State of Emergency

As part of the government's effort to apprehend the killers, Haiti declared a 15-day state of emergency on Wednesday. Since then, businesses there have been urged to reopen.

Since the country had postponed legislative elections in 2019 amid unrest, Moise, and ten senators were the only elected officials and as a result of his death, confusion about the country's legitimate leader has spread, enveloping it further in a political crisis.

(With inputs from agencies)