BREAKING: Haiti President Jovenel Moïse Shot Dead at Home, Wife Wounded

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Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated and the wounded first lady has been taken to a hospital.

The President was shot dead by unidentified attackers at his residence in Port-au-Prince during the night, Reuters reported, citing Haitian officials.

Haitian President Jovenel Moïse
Haitian President Jovenel Moïse Wikimedia Commons

Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph confirmed the news on Wednesday, saying that the killing was an "inhuman and barbaric act".

"The President was injured and succumbed to those injuries ... All measures are being taken to guarantee the continuity of the state and to protect the nation," Joseph added.

Instability in Haiti

Haiti has witnessed increasing violence and instability in the recent years. Gang wars and police confrontations were a routine feature on the streets as poverty raged in the country.

Moise, 53, took power in 2017 but faced strident criticism and challenges. The Opposition had accused him of trying to grab turn the country into a dictatorship. Moise had denied the charges.

According to the Opposition, Moïse's five-year term had ended on 7 February 2021 but the president insisted that he had another year in the office.

The Caribbean nation saw large-scale protests in February 2021 as people poured out into the streets demanding the president's resignation. The protesters stressed that Moise must leave office as he illegally extended his term.

However, Moise said there was coup to overthrow his government and assassinate him.

The critics alleged that Moise was ruling by the decree and postponed the legislative elections. However, Moise said he was committed to democracy and would overhaul the constitution.

Even as the political feud played out, Haiti also slid into economic deterioration, which fuelled further unrest.

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This article was first published on July 7, 2021