Envoy to US: Haiti President's Assassins Not DEA Agents, Foreign Mercenaries 'Can Be Paid By Anyone'
20:47 GMT 07.07.2021 (Updated: 13:20 GMT 06.08.2022)
© AP Photo / Joseph OdelynPolice stand near a mural featuring Haitian President Jovenel Moise, near the leader’s residence where he was killed by gunmen in the early morning hours in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Wednesday, July 7, 2021.
© AP Photo / Joseph Odelyn
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The killers of Haitian President Jovenel Moise are not agents of the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the foreign mercenaries can be paid by anyone, Haitian Ambassador to the United States Bocchit Edmond told Sputnik on Wednesday.
Moise, who ruled the country from 2017, was killed by a group of unidentified armed men at his private residence on early Wednesday. First Lady Martine Moise was hospitalized with a gunshot wound. The assailants who killed Moise were claimed to be with the DEA, the Miami Herald newspaper reported on Wednesday citing videos taken by people near the president's home.
"It can be foreigners. Because footage showed that they were speaking Spanish and they're speaking English. They were pretending themselves to be the agents of the DEA operation. We know it's false because they just wanted to mask the horrible act," Edmond said. "But the foreign mercenaries can be paid by anyone. So the most and probably the most important thing is to is to identify those killers and to make sure that they are being brought to justice because it is not an ordinary citizen is the head of state has been killed."
© REUTERS / Valerie BaeriswylFILE PHOTO: Haiti's President Jovenel Moise speaks during an interview with Reuters at the National Palace of Port-au-Prince, Haiti January 11, 2020. REUTERS/Valerie Baeriswyl/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Haiti's President Jovenel Moise speaks during an interview with Reuters at the National Palace of Port-au-Prince, Haiti January 11, 2020. REUTERS/Valerie Baeriswyl/File Photo
Edmond said the Embassy of Haiti contacted the US authorities after Moise's assassination and Washington is looking into what it can do to help.
“We did contact the United States, the White House today,” Edmond said. “We believe they are trying to see how they can help. And any other international help would be welcome. But the most important thing is to keep trying to catch those killers, because we certainly believe they were not themselves carrying out a job, probably they have been paid for. So we need to identify who is behind, it is very important.
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Edmond said Haiti is calling on its international partners to assist and help the country in this process of investigation to "identify those killers and those behind act."
"I think now the most important thing in terms of assistance is to seek where those countries and our international partners can help us in this international manhunt, because it's very important to identify the killers," Edmond said. "As well probably in the very short-term future to help us address the security matters, because this is an example that can show you there was a weakness in the security apparatus."
"If the foreign commandos could enter the country so easily and carried out this act of assassination against the president, to some extent, it is something that needs to be condemned," the envoy added. "And so far, I'm very satisfied and I'm glad of the international reactions, international condemnation. And now it's very important to work to strengthening our security forces."
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“What I can tell you is that the current situation is, I would say, stable,” Edmond said. “The current authorities are taking measures to make sure that the security situation is controlled to avoid any more chaos. Two weeks of emergency state has been declared by the current government so we can have better control of the situation.”
“That state of emergency will certainly help us to make sure that we continue with the investigation, and we use every might… to seek for the killers,” Edmond said. “And we believe that the Dominican authorities will help us. If they will try to cross the border, we are certain that they will be doing something to help us and catching them.”
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"It is too early to say that, to talk about that now because the authorities, they have to decide, they have to settle down first," Edmond said. "We'll have to wait until the authorities address this issue and see how we can move forward."
Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the world, has been experiencing social, political and constitutional crises, with protesters blaming Moise for targeted killings, widespread corruption and an economic collapse. The opposition has said it believes Moise’s five-year-term should have ended in February 2021, five years after his predecessor Michel Martelly stepped down, but Moise insisted he had an additional year to serve, a position backed by the OAS.