Haiti's interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph called the killing of President Jovenel Moïse a "hateful, inhumane and barbaric act" in a statement

By Jen Juneau
July 07, 2021 10:28 AM
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Jovenel Moïse, the president of Haiti since 2017, has been assassinated. He was 53 years old.

Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph said in a statement that Moïse was killed at home by "an unidentified group of individuals, some of whom were speaking in Spanish," according to multiple outlets including CBS News.

Joseph added that the group "attacked the private residence of the president of the Republic and mortally wounded him."

"The first lady was wounded by a bullet and the necessary measures are being taken," said Joseph of Moïse's wife of 25 years, Martine.

The U.S. Embassy in Haiti said it was "restricting its direct-hire U.S. citizen staff to the Embassy compounds in Tabarre until further notice," noting the embassy would be closed Wednesday due to ''an ongoing security situation."

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President Haiti Jovenel Moise
Jovenel Moïse
| Credit: John Moore/Getty
President of Haiti Jovenel Moise and his wife
Martine and Jovenel Moïse
| Credit: Bahare Khodabande/Anadolu Agency/Getty

The Associated Press reports that Joseph referred to the killing of Moïse as a "hateful, inhumane and barbaric act."

"The country's security situation is under the control of the National Police of Haiti and the Armed Forces of Haiti," the prime minister added in his statement. "Democracy and the Republic will win."

Following the assassination, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on CNN, "It's a horrific crime, and we're so sorry for the loss that they are all suffering and going through as many of them are waking up this morning and hearing this news."

"And we stand ready and stand by them to provide any assistance that's needed," she added.

"We're still gathering details, we're still gathering specifics. And of course, our embassy and State Department will be in close touch," continued Psaki, 42. "It's a tragedy."

Moïse's tenure has been a controversial one, with many pointing fingers at the politician for failing to help the country progress financially as its residents continue to attempt to recover from the 2010 earthquake and 2016's Hurricane Matthew.

A woman who lives near the Moïses' home told the AP that the Wednesday attack sounded like "an earthquake," as there was "so much shooting."

"The president had problems with many people, but this is not how we expected him to die. This is something I wouldn't wish on any Haitian," she added.