MS Risk Blog

Haiti’s President killed can things get any worse?

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The recent killing of Haiti’s President Jovenel Moïse has raised alarm and further conflict in a country already divided and full of problems. What is still not currently known is why Moïse was murdered or who was responsible, but the effects of his death have already been echoed throughout the nation with further instability.

Controversy has always been surrounded by Moïse’s presidency since being in power in February 2017. With allegations of corruption and widespread demonstrations being prevalent in the capital city Port-au-Prince and other cities around the country in February. The legitimacy of his rule was always questioned by the population as his 5-year term, according to the opposition, should have ended that same month. Moïse responded that he took to office late due to allegations of electoral fraud at the time. This anti-government sentiment stayed however and led to continuous anti-government protests and frustration.

An attempt was previously made on Moïse’s life back in February where at least 23 were arrested including a top judge and senior police officer due to a dispute over when his term had ended.

Another attempt on the Presidents’ life was made and successful. Unidentified gunmen had broken into his private residency at around 01:00 on the 7th of June according to interim PM Claude Joseph in which Moïse was shot and killed and his wife seriously injured. First Lady Martine Moïse was later flown to Florida for treatment.

Video footage not verified but thought to have been taken by residents shows armed men arriving at Moïse’s residence in several vehicles. A man thought to be a security guard appears to be forced to lie on the ground, the attackers disguising themselves as drug agents to get into the building. Officials had described the property’s grounds as having been littered with gun cartridges, implying many shots were fired that night.

A manhunt has since begun to locate who had killed the President and various groups have been blamed. 28 suspects in total have been identified, including 20 apprehended, 3 killed and another 5 still remain at large. Police are currently saying a group of mercenaries, most of them Colombians were behind the attack. Supposedly 26 Colombians and 2 Haitian Americans made up the group that carried out the killing, they also arrested a Haitian man whom they suspect having played a key role in organising the attack. Controversy around who had carried out the attack is still ongoing however, with Haitian opposition politician Steven Benoit believed that the Columbians were not responsible but instead was conducted by his security agents.

Police chief Léon Charles alleged that Christian Emmanuel Sanon, a Florida doctor, with political plans to gain control of Haiti had hired 26 of the 28 members of the Columbian hit squad to enact the attack through a Miami based company called CTU. Whether is this what actually occurred is yet to be known.

With frequent unrest set to continue, with even protestors and gunfire being frequent at the President’s funeral, it is unlikely that any form of solution will be made within the short term. The new prime minister Ariel Henry was recently sworn in calling for unity and to form a temporary government until September’s elections, which could feature even more issues for an already broken nation.