TWO Haitian Americans have been arrested in connection with the assassination of Haiti's president, according to local officials.
Haiti’s minister of elections, Mathias Pierre, told the AP that US citizen James Solages was among six people arrested in the brazen assassination of President Jovenel Moise on Wednesday.
Four other suspected assailants were killed in a gunfight with police and two are still missing, Pierre said. Earlier authorities had said seven suspects were killed.
Pierre would not provide additional details about Solages’ background, nor would he provide the name of the second Haitian-American he said was arrested.
Solages describes himself as a “certified diplomatic agent,” and budding politician on a website for a charity he established in 2019 in south Florida.
On his bio page for the charity, Solages said he previously worked as a bodyguard at the Canadian Embassy in Haiti.
On his LinkedIn profile, under "skills" he listed: "Military Police."
Cops gunned down four suspects in a fierce gun battle after Moïse was "riddled with 12 bullets" during the armed assault on his home at 1am local time on Wednesday, officials said.
The former head of state was found laying on his back with 12 large wounds and one eye "gouged out", magistrate Carl Henry Destin told local media.
Destin said a maid and a boy on duty were tied up by a group of armed commandos who shouted "DEA operation" as they entered the property.
The gunmen, who Haitian officials claim are "foreign mercenaries" who spoke a mix of Spanish and English with an American accent, ransacked the president's office and bedroom.
The First Lady, Martine Moïse, is fighting for her life after being shot multiple times in the attack.
The 47-year-old has been flown to Florida and taken to Baptist Hospital in Miami for treatment, where she is in a stable but critical condition, according to NPR.
Moïse's daughter, Jomarlie, survived by hiding in her brother's room.
Speaking to Haitian media, Destin said the president was found "lying on his back, with blue pants, a white shirt stained with blood, his mouth open, his left eye gouged out" and with "twelve orifices".
"We saw a bullet impact at the level of his forehead, one in each nipple, three at the hip, one in the abdomen," he added, stressing the bullet holes were made by a "large caliber weapon and with 9 mm projectiles”.
Police chief Leon Charles said his men "blocked" the group from leaving Moïse's compound and have been "battling" them ever since.
Another official called the assassins "well trained professional commandos" and "foreign mercenaries" who carried high-powered guns and dressed in black.
Léon Charles, director of Haiti’s National Police, said on Thursday that the "pursuit of the mercenaries continues."
"Their fate is fixed: They will fall in the fighting or will be arrested.”
Witnesses said two suspects were discovered hiding in bushes in Port-au-Prince on Thursday by a crowd.
Some of the crowd grabbed the men by their shirts and pants, pushing them and occasionally slapping them.
Police arrived shortly afterward to arrest the men, who were sweating heavily and wearing clothes that seemed to be smeared with mud.
Dramatic footage shared to social media showed the pair being thrown into the back of a police truck and driving away by heavily armed cops.
“They killed the president! Give them to us. We’re going to burn them!" some in the crowd chanted.
The crowd later set fire to several abandoned cars riddled with bullet holes that they believed belonged to the suspects, who were white men.
The cars didn’t have license plates, and inside one of them was an empty box of bullets and some water, AP reported.
Officials have not yet released a motive for the slaying of Moïse, only saying the killed was carried out by “a highly trained and heavily armed group.”
His death has been condemned by Haiti’s main opposition parties and the international community.
Moïse had faced large protests in recent months that turned violent as opposition leaders and their supporters rejected his plans to hold a constitutional referendum with proposals that would strengthen the presidency.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Thursday that the White House will be assisting in local police to investigate Moïse's assassination.
“We again stand ready to provide support, provide assistance, in any way that is formally requested by the government there,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.
“We’re looking forward to hearing from them on what they would request and how we can help them through this period of time.”
Source: Read Full Article