Haiti Calls for US Troops as Role of Mercenaries in President's Murder Emerges

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The United States and Colombia said they are sending law enforcement officials and intelligence agents help Haiti following the assassination of after President Jovenel Moise. The move comes after Haiti requested US and UN security forces to help maintain stability following reports that foreign mercenaries were involved in the murder of Moise.

"We definitely need assistance and we've asked our international partners for help ... We believe our partners can assist the national police in resolving the situation," Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph told The Associated Press.

Moise was killed by gunmen on Wednesday morning at his private residence in Port-au-Prince.

"We were in a situation where we believed that infrastructure of the country – the port, airport and energy infrastructure – might be a target," Haiti's Elections Minister Mathias Pierre said, according to Reuters.

Haitian President Jovenel Moïse
Haitian President Jovenel Moïse Wikimedia Commons

Haiti has also requested the UN assistance to deal with the situation. However, the 15-member UN Security Council will have to agree to deploy UN peacekeepers. There is no update on whether the UN is stepping into the scenario.

Meanwhile, as many as 17 people have been captured following the murder of the president. Three more were killed while eight suspects remain on the run.

Haiti says the murder was was carried out by a commando unit including Haitian American mercenaries.

Investigators have now released more information about the murder of the president. Rescue personnel found Moise's bullet-ridden body lying on the floor of his bedroom.

"His body was riddled with bullets ... There was a lot of blood around the corpse and on the staircase," Petionville tribunal judge Carl Henry Destin said.

The assassins of Haiti President Jovenel Moïse being beaten by the mob Twitter

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 fueled further unrest.

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