Haiti President Jovenel Moïse killed in attack at home


Haiti's President, Jovenel Moïse has been killed in an attack on his home in the nation's capital, according to the country's interim prime minister.

Claude Joseph said the president's residence in Port-au-Prince was stormed by unidentified armed men at 01:00 local time (05:00 GMT).

Mr Joseph said that "all measures had been taken to guarantee the continuance of the state". He was 53.
Moïse and his wife Martine in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on November 28, 2016, after he won the country's 2016 presidential election. (Photo by Jeanty Junior Augustin/Reuters).

Jovenel Moïse was killed in his private hillside residence just outside Port-au-Prince at around 1 a.m. local time Wednesday by a group of assailants, Haitian Prime Minister Claude Joseph said in a Statement.

The first lady was also injured by gunshot, the statement said. According to AFP, Joseph said he is now in charge of the country.

Joseph's statement did not identify the assailants, but said they were Spanish-speaking. The main languages spoken in Haiti are Haitian Creole and French.

Joseph described the attack as "odious, inhumane, and barbarous."

The attack on Moïse followed years of protests against his government, and calls for his resignation.

Moïse has served as Haiti's president since February 2017 and the country was due to hold elections in 2019 but they were postponed.

Critics of Moïse say he is clinging on to power and argue that his term ended in February this year, AFP reported.

"He is doing everything, utilizing all kinds of maneuvers, to hold onto power and to ensure that he remains the only person governing in the country," Gédéon Jean, a lawyer and human rights leader in Port-au-Prince, told The Miami Herald in January. 

Haiti was scheduled to hold general elections later this year.

The people of Haiti were also due to vote in a referendum this September concerning reforms to the constitution that would give the executive leadership more power.

The move to reform the 1987 consitution was extremely unpopular. The constiution stated: "Any popular consultation aimed at modifying the Constitution by referendum is formally prohibited."

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