Haitian police rejected reports of assassinations by government officials

Haitian police rejected reports of assassinations by government officials



Haitian authorities on Thursday strongly opposed reports that current government officials participated in the killing of Haitian President Giovinel Moise, calling it a “lie.”

The head of the Haitian National Police, Leon Charles, denied the report by the Colombian private television station Caracol News, which claimed that Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph was the mastermind of the July 7 murder.

“The police warned that all publicity would cause diversion,” he said, adding that the police had no evidence to support these claims.

Otherwise, the Haitian authorities were not happy to provide information about who might be behind the killing, which shows that media reports involving current officials have touched the nerves of the government.

In Colombia, General Jorge Luis Vargas, the head of the country’s national police force, told reporters that he had no information to indicate that Joseph played any role in the conspiracy.

Charles also said that Moise’s security chief, Dimitri Herard, had been dismissed and detained in isolation after officials interrogated him. In recent days, the police announced that he was detained. Charles said that the authorities will meet with him for the third time before deciding what to do next.

On July 8, Interim President Claude Joseph delivered a speech at a press conference held at his residence in Port-au-Prince. (Joseph Odlin/Associated Press)

Herald was not officially listed as a suspect in the investigation, but many Haitians questioned how the attackers could invade the presidential palace among those designated to protect the president and kill him without being injured.

The press conference was held a day after the Columbia TV broadcast a report, which said it was based on information from FBI sources and Haitian authorities, as well as the phone calls, pictures and testimonies of people accused of participating in the conspiracy.

“I officially deny these allegations,” Charles said, calling them “lie.”

When the assassination occurred, Interim Prime Minister Joseph was about to be replaced. After the resignation of Joseph Joute, who had held the position for just over a year, Moise appointed him to the position in April.

Two days before the assassination, Moise announced that he had chosen a new prime minister, neurosurgeon Ariel Henry. But as of July 7, the new prime minister had not been sworn in. Joseph insisted that he was in charge of the government. This statement was recognized by the United States and other countries.

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Charles said police arrested 23 people, including 18 former Colombian soldiers, three Haitians and two Haitian Americans. He said the police also issued seven arrest warrants, searched 10 buildings, conducted 27 interrogations, and isolated four senior police officers.

He added that the investigation benefited from the help of the FBI and his unnamed foreign country.

On Thursday, Colombian President Ivan Duque told private radio La FM that only a small group of former Colombian soldiers involved in the killing knew it would be a criminal operation. He said that the others were deceived and thought they would go on duty to provide protection.

“Once they got there, the information they got changed,” Duke said, adding that “they ended up being involved in these unfortunate incidents.”

The Pentagon issued a statement saying that a small number of Colombian suspects had previously received U.S. military training and education programs during their service in the Colombian army. It stated that no other details could be provided until the review is still in progress.

President Giovinel Mois, who was assassinated in his home on July 7, delivered a speech at a ceremony held at the National Palace in Port-au-Prince on October 30, 2020. (Andres Martinez Casares/Reuters)


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