Haiti is under a state of siege, interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph announced during a national address on state television Wednesday morning.
- VOA photo -
Published Thursday, July 8, 2021
The Government condemned the assassination of the President of the Republic of Haiti, Jovenel Moïse during an armed assault on his residence on Wednesday.
"Costa Rica expresses its condolences to the government and people of Haiti while vowing for an early return to normalcy and stability in that country, and for ensuring that democratic institutions and dialogue prevail," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a brief statement.
Haiti is under a state of siege, interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph announced during a national address on state television Wednesday morning, according to a report by Voice of America Journal, VOA, which is the U.S. government news agency funded by the U.S. Congress.
The announcement came hours after President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated by a group of unknown gunmen at his private residence in Pelerin, a wealthy suburb of the capital, Port-au-Prince.
Prime Minister Joseph said he is in charge of the country and has imposed martial law, as Haiti’s borders and its main airport closed.
U.S. President Joe Biden condemned the attack and expressed condolences in a statement issued by the White House. "We condemn this heinous act, and I am sending my sincere wishes for First Lady Moïse's recovery. The United States offers condolences to the people of Haiti, and we stand ready to assist as we continue to work for a safe and secure Haiti," the statement said.
Biden called the attack “worrisome,” adding that "we need a lot more information" while responding to a reporter’s question before boarding Marine One enroute to Joint Base Andrews Wednesday morning.
The Haitian prime minister described the attack, which occurred about 1 a.m., as "highly coordinated" by a "highly trained and heavily armed group" whose members spoke in English and Spanish.
Moïse’s wife, Martine, was injured and taken to a hospital for treatment, Joseph said. One of the president’s children, who was at home during the attack has been taken to a secure location.
Joseph said the national police force is in control of the situation now and has taken measures to ensure the continuity of government, as well as to secure the nation.
Joseph urged the international community to investigate the murder. "We also call on the international community to launch an investigation into the assassination and for the United Nations to hold a Security Council meeting on Haiti as soon as possible," he said in a statement emailed to VOA. Joseph vowed to bring those responsible to justice.
Haiti has been experiencing political instability and division, as well as a rise in gang violence.
Last week in Port-au-Prince, gang leader Jimmy Cherisier, who is known by the nickname Barbeque, took to the streets to protest Moise's government, calling on him to resign.
“Jovenel [Moise] must go!” Cherisier told reporters during the protest. “A new group of people needs to lead this country, and we must sit together around a table, have a national dialogue so we can redefine this country.”
Seeking to reassure the nation, the prime minister had appealed for calmness during this time in chaos. “Stay calm, the nation is secure, let’s look for harmony,” he said.
How should international governments support the people of Haiti? We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
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