Haiti’s President Assassinated; Acting Prime Minister Imposes Martial Law

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Jovenel Moise, Haiti’s President, was assassinated at around 1 a.m. local time after a group of unidentified individuals charged into his home. Martine Moise, the First Lady of Haiti, was also shot in the attack. Due to the nature of her injuries, she was taken to Miami for immediate treatment. She is believed to be in a critical but stable condition. The country is observing two weeks of national mourning in tribute to the late President. 

Claude Joseph, the acting Prime Minister of the country, said Moise was assassinated in a “highly coordinated attack by a highly trained and heavily armed group.” So far, no one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but Bocchit Edmond, the Haitian ambassador to the United States, said the killers were believed to be “well-trained” and “mercenaries.”

Haiti is at present in a “state-of-siege,” and this will continue for the next 15 days. This means all of Haiti’s borders will be closed. The acting Prime Minister has also imposed martial law in the country and has empowered the Haiti National Police and military to enforce the law. 

This brutal attack comes during a time of significant political instability. Not only is the Haitian parliament close to defunct but several key positions in the government are also empty. The capital city Port-au-Prince experienced escalated criminal violence in the month of June. Haiti also witnessed a wave of kidnapping cases earlier this year. In addition to all of this, the coronavirus pandemic is also a cause for concern, given that the country reported its highest death toll so far in June. 

Although the slain President named Ariel Henry as the new prime minister on July 5, his predecessor, Claude Joseph, has taken charge of the situation in the country. 

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