Port-au-Prince / Bogotá / Washington (dpa) – The US does not want to send troops to Haiti to stabilize the country after the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse.
The government of the Caribbean state had asked the ex-occupying power USA to do this. That is currently not on the agenda, US President Joe Biden said at the White House. The United States would only send Marines to Haiti to secure their embassy. New information about the attack came to light from Colombia: a large number of the alleged perpetrators would not have known the true purpose of their mission.
Two Colombians suspected
In the joint investigation by the Haitian and Colombian authorities, two Colombians were identified as the organizers of the attack on the spot, Colombian National Police chief Jorge Vargas said at a news conference in Bogotá. After questioning Haitian investigators, they told the other members of the command that it was a matter of arresting Moïse and handing them over to the US anti-drug agency DEA.
The 53-year-old head of state was attacked and shot in his home on the night of July 7. His wife was seriously injured. Police say 26 Colombian mercenaries and two Americans of Haitian descent committed the murder. Only a small group of an estimated seven Colombians entered the presidential residence, Vargas said.
Perpetrators claimed to be DEA agents
The perpetrators pretended to be DEA agents. The DEA has stated that one of the suspects was a service informant in the past. However, none of them acted on behalf of the DEA.
The two American citizens, three Haitians and 18 of the Colombians, were arrested and three more Colombians were killed. A “small number” of those arrested have participated in US military training and education programs as active members of the Colombian armed forces, a US Defense Department spokesman said at the request of the DPA. The Washington Post reported about it.
The doctor is seen as a mastermind
Police say one of those arrested is a suspected mastermind: a Haitian doctor who lived in the United States. The 63-year-old is accused of hiring the mercenaries through a US-based private security company owned by a Venezuelan. He wanted to replace Moise. According to Vargas, the two identified organizers of the attack and another Colombian met the doctor. One of them received $50,000 from the United States.
Investigators also received information from Colombians recruited for the mission but not going to Haiti, Colombian President Iván Duque said on radio station La FM. In addition, authorities had contacted a man who had traveled to Haiti and was returning. The FBI is also involved in the investigation.
Indeed worsening crisis in Haiti
The law exacerbated a pre-existing political crisis in the poor Caribbean country. Interim Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Claude Joseph has so far been accepted by the international community as head of government, although Moïse appointed a successor as prime minister shortly before his death. Colombian broadcaster Caracol reported on Wednesday that Joseph is the detectives’ prime suspect. Haiti’s interim police chief Léon Charles rejected this in a video message.
Presidential and parliamentary elections are scheduled in Haiti in September. However, the feasibility is questionable due to the security situation. In the capital, Port-au-Prince, about 15,500 people have been displaced since June, according to UN figures, as a result of fighting between gangs for control of areas.