US to provide investigative assistance to Haitian police in president's assassination

US to provide investigative assistance to Haitian police in president's assassination
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The United States is responding to a request from the Haitian National Police for assistance in investigating the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Thursday. 

"We are aware of the Haitian national police’s request for investigative assistance and the United States is responding," Price said.

"The situation on the ground is evolving rapidly. We’ve remained in regular contact with Haitian officials including the investigative authorities to discuss how the United States can assist going forward," he added. 

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It was not immediately clear which agency will help the Haitian police with the investigation, Price said, but that it is likely to go through law enforcement channels, including the FBI.

Price added that the U.S. is in close contact with Haitian officials and is working with interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph in his acting capacity.

The administration is also in touch with Ariel Henry. Moïse before his death had announced Henry as a replacement for Joseph.

The killing has left unclear who is really in charge of Haiti.  

Joseph said in an interview with The Associated Press that he is in charge of the country while also maintaining close contact with Henry. 

Henry told the AP he was the prime minister in office. 

Price said the U.S. is working with Joseph in his capacity as interim prime minister. 

“We have also been in contact with Ariel Henry as well … Claude Joseph was the incumbent in the position, he was serving as the acting prime minister before the assassination of President Moïse. We continue to work with Claude Joseph as such,” he said.

Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenUS, Brazil discuss ways to slow migration Mayorkas tests positive for COVID-19 breakthrough case The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Biden, Democrats dig into legislative specifics MORE spoke with Joseph on Wednesday where he expressed condolences for Moïse’s murder and the attack on his wife, first lady Martin Moïse, who is undergoing treatment in a Miami hospital.

Blinken “reiterated the United States’ continued commitment to work with the Government of Haiti in support of the Haitian people and democratic governance, peace, and security.”

Moïse was killed in his home early Wednesday morning by a group of highly trained, well-armed mercenaries, senior Haitian officials have said, adding that the group likely came from outside the country but is suspected of being assisted domestically. 

Haitian police have reportedly killed at least four suspects and arrested more than six others, including at least two people who may have had dual U.S. and Haitian citizenship.

Price on Thursday said he was not able to confirm that a U.S. citizen was arrested, saying that the Haitian authorities are leading the investigation.

“It’s still early days, we’re aware of reports of arrests that have taken place” he said, but referred to Haitian authorities for any details.