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Haitian President Jovenel Moïse has been assassinated at his home

The attack was deemed ‘inhumane and barbaric’ by officials

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Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise speaks at his home in Petion-Ville.

Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise speaks during an interview at his home in Petion-Ville, a suburb of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Moise was assassinated on Wednesday, July 7, 2021, per reports.

Dieu Nalio Chery, Associated Press

Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated at his home overnight in mid-July, according to multiple reports. Here’s a rundown of events and what you need to know.

Haiti officials arrest 2 Americans in assassination

Friday, July 9

Haitian authorities arrested 17 suspects in the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse — including two who are believed to be Americans, according to NPR.

  • Two of the suspects reportedly hold dual U.S.-Haitian citizenship. One of the citizens has been identified, according to NBC News.
  • Meanwhile, Léon Charles, chief of Haiti’s National Police, said 15 of the suspects are from Colombia, with Colombia’s government saying six of the suspects are former members of the Colombian army, NPR reports.

What happens now in Haiti?

Thursday, July 8

After the assassination, Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph took over as interim president. And now, Haiti has now found itself in a state of chaos as it searches for what to do next after the president’s assassination, according to the Deseret News.

There’s also a possibility that the interim prime minister might not actually be the prime minister. Moïsehad named Ariel Henry as prime minister the day before he died, Deseret News reports.

Robert Fatton, an expert on Haitian politics at the University of Virginia, told The Associated Press that “whether Claude Joseph manages to stay in power is a huge question. It will be very difficult to do so if he doesn’t create a government of national unity.

  • “It’s a really explosive situation,” Fatton said.
  • “You name it, in terms of instability and institutional decay, you have it at the moment in Haiti,” Fatton said to NPR.

You can read more about what happens next in Haiti at the Deseret News.

What happened to Haiti’s president?

Wednesday, July 7

Moïse was assassinated at his home overnight Wednesday. First lady Martine Moïse suffered bullet wounds during the attack, too. She was later hospitalized, NBC News reports.

Joseph, who will take over as interim president, said in a statement that Moise was killed during the night at his private home.

  • The attack was a “hateful, inhumane and barbaric act,” he said.
  • “Measures are being taken in order to ensure the continuity of the state and to protect the nation,” he said in the statement.

Who killed Haiti’s president?

Joseph said a group was responsible for the killing, but the group had not been identified at the time of his statements.

  • “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 said, according to The New York Times.

According to Fox News, Haiti has seen a spike in crime under Moïse. And the leader failed to hold elections, deciding to rule the island nation by decree instead.

  • “In recent months, the streets of Haiti have become clogged with angry protests demanding the removal of Mr. Moïse,” according to The New York Times. “He had clung to power, ruling by decree for more than a year, with many — including constitutional scholars and legal experts — contending that his term had expired.”

Has the U.S. responded?

White House press secretary Jen Psaki responded to the death in an MSNBC interview. She called it a “horrific attack.”

  • “We’ll be helpful in any way to the people of Haiti, the government of Haiti, if there’s an investigation,” she said, according to NBC News.