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Ex-Colombian Soldiers Implicated in Haiti President Sla...

Newsdeck

Newsdeck

Ex-Colombian Soldiers Implicated in Haiti President Slaying

PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI - JULY 08: A soldier patrols the area near the police station of Petion Ville where people protest after the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise on July 08, 2021 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Moise was killed and his wife injured during an attack to their home in the nation's capital on Wednesday. Haiti remains in turmoil as new authorities are still to be defined and assassins identified. (Photo by Richard Pierrin/Getty Images)
By Bloomberg
09 Jul 2021 0

(Bloomberg) --Retired members of Colombia’s army are suspected of having participated in the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise, Colombian Defense Minister Diego Molano said, in yet another dramatic twist to a killing that has shaken the Caribbean nation.

By Dale Quinn
Jul 9, 2021, 4:54 AM – Updated on Jul 9, 2021, 9:10 AM
Word Count: 590

Colombia received an official request Thursday from the international police agency Interpol for information about the suspected perpetrators of the slaying, Molano said. Initial information suggests they are Colombian citizens and retired members of the army.

“We have given instruction, on behalf of the national government, to our police and army that they immediately collaborate in the development of the investigation and clarify these facts,” Molano said.

Haitian police said 28 people carried out the attack against the president, 26 of them Colombians and two U.S. citizens of Haitian descent, the AFP News Agency said in a tweet. The group of attackers stormed Moise’s official residence early Wednesday in the first killing of a Haitian head of state in more than a century.

Haitian authorities arrested 11 armed suspects Thursday after they broke into the Taiwanese Embassy in the Port-au-Prince suburb of Petion-Ville, the Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Friday. The ministry said the embassy suffered no property loss and urged diplomatic staff to increase security in Haiti, which is one of 15 states that maintain relations with Taipei rather than Beijing.

Read More: Recruiting Mercenaries for Middle East Fuels Rancor in Colombia

Colombian troops are considered among the world’s best after having fought against local guerrillas in jungles and mountains for more than five decades. Soldiers are sometimes tempted to quit the army for the prospect of earning more money working as contractors in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Power Vacuum

The assassination has left the Caribbean nation embroiled in a power struggle as rival politicians jockey to fill the political vacuum. Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph — who had been on the job for less than three months — is seen to be in charge of the nation of 11 million, and he spoke with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken by phone Wednesday.

But Joseph’s hold on power is being challenged. The day before his assassination, Moise had named Ariel Henry to fill the prime minister’s post. While he was never sworn in, Henry told a local newspaper that he — not Joseph — is the prime minister, but said he favored dialog to keep from “igniting” the country.

In the meantime, the special representative of the secretary-general for Haiti, Helen La Lime, told reporters at the UN on Thursday that Joseph is the Prime Minister, and that the nation planned to go ahead with the first-round election in September, with a second round in November.

Moise had plenty of enemies and had faced growing discontent in the months before his murder. Part of the anger was fueled by the fact that he’d been ruling by decree since January 2020, after parliamentary terms expired and legislative elections were not held.

How Power Struggle in Haiti Preceded Assassination: QuickTake

(Updates with Taiwan Embassy break-in in fifth paragraph.)

–With assistance from Samson Ellis.

© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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