Haitian police close the net in the investigation into the murder of the president
The assassination of Jovenel Moise by armed mercenaries was planned in the neighboring Dominican Republic, according to Haitian police, which announced the detention of the head of the bodyguards of the assassinated president and three other members of his security detachment.
The apparent ease with which a commando group entered the Haitian leader’s residence in Port-au-Prince and shot him dead, without his bodyguards being injured, raised suspicion that the July 7 attack could have been an inside job.
A photograph circulating on social media identifies two suspects – both subsequently arrested – meeting with former Haitian opposition senator Joel John Joseph, wanted by police.
According to Haitian National Police Director Leon Charles, the photo was taken as the trio were in the Dominican capital plotting to kill Moise, whose body was found riddled with bullets.
“They met at a hotel in Santo Domingo,” Charles told reporters. âAround the table are the architects of the plot, a technical recruiting team and a financial group.
“Some of the people in the photo have already been apprehended, such as Dr Christian Emmanuel Sanon and James Solages,” Charles added.
The assassination, which came during a period of heightened gang violence and political instability, has left Haiti confused and raised fears of an explosion in Covid-19 cases.
Authorities in Port-au-Prince had requested US military assistance amid the crisis, but President Joe Biden ruled out sending US troops to Haiti on Thursday, saying it was “not to the agenda, “although security would be tightened at the US Embassy.
The United States has sent members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Department of State, Department of Justice, National Security Council, and Department of Homeland Security to Haiti.
On Thursday, the FBI participated in a search of Moise’s home, removing at least one computer and several cases.
– American connections –
Police said Solages, a Haitian-American, coordinated with Miami-based Venezuelan security firm CTU as part of the plot.
“The boss of the firm, Antonio Emmanuel Intriago Valera, is on the spot,” said Charles. âHe entered Haiti several times to prepare for the assassination.
Florida-based financial services firm Worldwide Capital Lending Group funded the attack, Charles said, adding that his boss Walter Veintemilla also appears with the plotters.
Two Americans of Haitian origin and 26 Colombians were said to have participated in the assassination. Three Colombian mercenaries were killed and 18 arrested by Haitian police.
Those in custody say they were hired to capture Moise and hand him over to the US Drug Enforcement Administration, Colombian police participating in the investigation said Thursday.
Colombian police chief Jorge Vargas said Colombians believed the original idea was “to plan the arrest of the president and make him available … to the DEA.”
“There was a group of four (mercenaries) who were already in the country. The others entered on June 6. They went through the Dominican Republic. We traced the credit card that was used to buy the tickets. plane, âCharles said.
“They are former members of the Colombian special forces. They are experts, criminals. It was a well-planned attack,” added the police chief.
Among the four presidential security officials placed in solitary confinement at the police headquarters were Dimitri Herard, Moise’s personal security chief and three others. Another 24 were investigated, Charles said.
– ‘Guardian Angels’ –
Haiti called on the United States – which trained Colombian forces in the past – to help shed light on who was behind the assassination.
The Pentagon confirmed Thursday that some of the suspects had been trained by the US military.
“A review of our training databases indicates that a small number of Colombian individuals detained as part of this investigation had participated in former US military training and education programs, while serving as members. Colombian military forces assets, âPentagon spokesman Lt. Col. said. Ken Hoffmann.
Hoffman said the review was “ongoing”.
Meanwhile, the first images of Moise’s injured widow, who was evacuated to Florida for medical treatment after the attack, were released on Thursday.
“Thank you for the team of guardian angels who have helped me through this terrible time,” Martine Moise, 47, said on Twitter alongside a photo of herself in the hospital with a heavily bandaged arm. .
“With your gentleness, your kindness and your care, I was able to hold out. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!”
bur-rle / jh-ft / sw / dw