The commando unit that killed Haitian President Jovenel Moïse on the night from Tuesday to Wednesday consisted of 26 Colombians and two Haitian Americans, Police Chief Charles Leon said Thursday. Three alleged perpetrators have been killed, while eight suspects are still on the run.
Authorities followed the suspected killers to a house in a suburb of the capital Port-au-Prince on Wednesday. After a firefight, 17 suspects were arrested, 15 Colombians and two Americans. Police Chief Leon showed Colombian passports, rifles, machetes, walkie-talkies and materials, including bolt cutters and hammers, at a press conference on Thursday.
“Foreigners came to our country to kill the president,” Charles said. “It was 26 Colombians, identified by their passports, and two Haitian Americans.”
Colombian Defense Minister Diego Molano said in a statement that preliminary information indicated that the Colombians involved are retired members of the Colombian military. He said Bogota would cooperate with the investigation. The US State Department also said it was cooperating with the investigation but could not confirm whether US citizens had been arrested.
The situation in the city is tense. On Thursday morning, an angry mob gathered around the house where the suspects had been holed up, setting cars parked on the street on fire.
The tension in the street is partly caused by uncertainty about who is in power now. According to Helen La Lime, the UN envoy to Haiti, Prime Minister Claude Joseph is leading the Caribbean country until elections are held. The latter will happen on September 26, as had already been planned for the murder of Moise, Elections Minister Mathias Pierre said on Thursday. Pierre called the passage of the elections “a requirement for a more stable country, a more stable political system”.