President Jovenel Moïse of Haiti was assassinated in an assault in the early hours of Wednesday at his dwelling on the outskirts of the capital, Port-au-Prince, the prime minister stated.
Mr. Moïse’s spouse, Martine Moïse, was additionally shot in the assault, Prime Minister Claude Joseph stated in an announcement. Her situation was not instantly clear.
“A group of unidentified individuals, some of them speaking Spanish, attacked the private residence of the president of the republic and thus fatally wounded the head of state,” the prime minister stated.
Mr. Joseph stated in a phone interview that he was the one operating the nation at the second.
He stated that the president had been “cowardly assassinated,” however that the murderers “cannot assassinate his ideas.”
He referred to as on the nation to “stay calm” and stated he would deal with the nation on Wednesday. He stated the nation’s safety scenario was beneath the management of the police and the military.
But worldwide observers warned that the scenario might shortly spiral out of management.
Didier le Bret, the former French ambassador to Haiti, informed France 24 that an already risky political scenario was risky. A brand new prime minister, Ariel Henry, was scheduled to be sworn into workplace on Wednesday. Because that had not occurred, it was not clear who was operating the nation, he stated.
“It is a big question mark,” he stated, warning that the scenario might result in wider violence.
The information rocked the impoverished Caribbean island nation 675 miles southeast of Miami. Haiti has an extended historical past of dictatorships and coups, and democracy has by no means totally taken root.
In latest months, the streets of Haiti have turn out to be clogged with indignant protests demanding the removing of Mr. Moïse. He had clung to energy, ruling by decree for greater than a yr, with many — together with constitutional students and authorized consultants — believing that his time period had expired.
Since a devastating earthquake 11 years in the past, the nation has not rebuilt, and lots of say it’s worse off, regardless of billions of dollars of reconstruction help. Armed gangs management the streets and have taken to kidnapping even schoolchildren and church pastors in the center of their companies. Poverty and starvation are on the rise, and the authorities has been accused of enriching itself whereas not offering even the most simple companies.
Harold Isaac, Elian Peltier and Constant Méheut contributed reporting.