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Haitian Police: Foreign 'Hit Squad' Killed Our President

Colombian ex-soldiers are among 17 in custody
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 9, 2021 6:52 AM CDT

(Newser) – Police in Haiti say a hit squad of foreign mercenaries—including at least 15 Colombians and two Haitian-Americans—was behind the assassination of the country's president early Wednesday. Authorities say 17 men have been captured, including the two American citizens, three have been shot dead by police, and another eight are still at large. Colombian authorities have confirmed that at least six suspects are former members of its military, reports the AP. "Foreigners came to our country to kill our president," said Léon Charles, chief of Haiti's National Police. The bruised and handcuffed suspects and a cache of seized weapons were shown to the media Thursday, the BBC reports.

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President Jovenel Moise was shot 12 times by "a highly trained and heavily armed group" that broke into his home; he was also found with a gouged eye. The motive is still unknown, but interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph told the BBC it may have been because Moise was fighting corruption. If the aim was to plunge Haiti into chaos, it was a success: The country is now under martial law and two prime ministers are claiming power—Joseph and Ariel Henry, who was appointed by Moise two days before his death and had been due to take up the role this week, the New York Times reports. With the country's parliament largely vacant, the line of succession is so unclear that even constitutional experts are confused. US officials say they are dealing with Joseph as the "incumbent" but they have also spoken to Henry. (Read more Haiti stories.)

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