The assailants behind the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse claimed to be part of an operation with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Miami Herald reported Wednesday.
The newspaper reported that, according to videos taken by people near Moïse’s home, someone with an American accent in the French-speaking country can be heard yelling in English, “DEA operation. Everybody stand down. DEA operation. Everybody back up, stand down.”
But sources told the Herald that the assailants, one of whom reportedly spoke English with an American accent, were not with the DEA.
When asked about reports that the assailants claimed to be with the DEA, a senior Biden administration official said, “Those reports are absolutely false. The United States condemns this heinous act.”
Moïse, 53, was assassinated during an attack at his private residence around 1 a.m. Wednesday by unidentified assailants, Claude Joseph, the country's interim prime minister, said. First lady Martine Moïse was wounded in the attack.
Joseph said some of the attackers were speaking Spanish but did not comment on a possible motive.
Bocchit Edmond, Haiti's ambassador to the United States, said at a news conference that the attack was carried out by “well-trained professional killers.” He said it is believed that the assailants were “mercenaries.”
“We have a video, and we believe that those are mercenaries,” Edmond said.
President BidenJoe BidenUkraine's president compares UN to 'a retired superhero' Biden touts 'progress' during 'candid' meetings on .5T plan Biden to tap law professor who wants to 'end banking as we know it' as OCC chief: reports MORE condemned Moïse’s assassination, calling it a “heinous act.”
“We are shocked and saddened to hear of the horrific assassination of President Jovenel Moïse and the attack on First Lady Martine Moïse of Haiti,” Biden said. “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.”
Laura Kelly contributed to this report.