US citizens among suspects arrested in Haitian president's assassination: reports

Two men believed to be Haitian Americans have been arrested in connection with the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, a senior Haitian official reportedly said.

James Solages, a U.S. citizen, is among six people arrested in connection with the killing of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse at his home early Wednesday morning, The Washington Post reported

Mathias Pierre, Haiti’s minister of elections and interparty relations, told the Post that at least one other detainee is also thought to be Haitian American.

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Solages purportedly served as a bodyguard at the Canadian embassy in Haiti, the Associated Press reported, according to an online biography for a charity based out of North Lauderdale, Florida. 

Four other suspects were killed by Haiti’s National Police late Wednesday, The Associated Press reported, amid the push to identify the president’s killers. 

Haitian Ambassador to the U.S. Bocchit Edmond told CNN that it’s clear the perpetrators of the president’s assassination were foreigners, but there was “no doubt” they had help from sources inside the country.

“Indeed there were foreigners, but at the same time we have to recognize that they also have some help, internal help,” he said in an interview Thursday on CNN’s "New Day."

 

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“If you take the logistics for example, the cars, to go all the way to the president’s residence, I believe they get it underground. Therefore, there is no doubt about it there is some internal help,” he said.

Moïse was killed in a brazen attack against his home early Wednesday morning by a group of highly trained and heavily armed gunmen, interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph said in a statement at the time.

Edmond has referred to the perpetrators as “mercenaries” and “professional killers” who pretended to be agents of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency in carrying out the attack, the AP reported. 

The Haitian ambassador, in his interview with CNN, said that it's likely there are more perpetrators beyond those already identified by police, and it is important to find the people who financed the attack on the president.

“The most important thing is we need to continue with the investigations and look and identify those who financed them, those who paid them, to commit this horrible act,” he said.

The motivation for the president's killing remains unclear, the ambassador said.

"I don’t want to speculate on the motive because seeing as there is an investigation going on I have to wait for the results, but it’s certain that the head of state cannot be killed for play, there has to be a reason. ... Hopefully, those reasons will be known once the investigation is concluded," he said.

Edmond called for help from the international community to carry out the investigation in identifying the killers. 

“We call on the international partners who also have expertise, to help us carry out this investigation and make sure we’re identifying those killers,” he said. 

The president's wife, Martine Moïse, was also shot in the attack, and is undergoing treatment in a Miami hospital.

Edmond said the first lady appears out of danger and he continues to pray for her recovery.

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“We want her to recover very soon,” he said. 

The assassination of Haiti’s president on Wednesday shocked the international community and raised fears of greater instability in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. 

It remains to be seen how his death will impact Haiti’s political instability, a situation that has atrophied over the past few years amid deep political polarization. The COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to delays on democratic reforms and deepened an ongoing humanitarian crisis stemming from the catastrophic 2010 earthquake, while gang violence plagues the country.

Updated 4:37 p.m.