*Two American suspects, 15 others seized
By Bamidele Lawson, with Agency reports
Haitian music icon and Philanthropist, Wyclef Jean, has described Tuesday’s assassination of President Jovenel Moise as an attack on the institution of the Presidency.
The rapper, who aspired to the Presidency of Haiti in the 2010 presidential election, reacting to the incidence, tweeted, “The assassination of @moisejovenel is an attack on the institution of the presidency & is a tragedy! My prayers r with his family & 4 my Haitian brothers & sisters who are the daily victims of this chaotic situation.”
Meanwhile, about seventeen people, including fifteen Colombians and two American citizens, have been detained in the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, Haitian officials said Thursday night as they paraded the suspects before the news media and asserted that “foreigners” had been involved in the brazen attack, The New York Times reports.
At a news conference at National Police Headquarters with the interim prime minister, the American men were described as being of Haitian descent and were identified as Joseph Vincent and James Solages.
Haitian security officials had earlier described Mr. Solages as a resident of South Florida who had been apprehended on Wednesday during the manhunt for the assailants. A Canadian government official said that Mr. Solages was briefly employed as a reserve bodyguard by a security company hired by the foreign affairs ministry in 2010.
At least eight more suspects were on the run, authorities said.
“We are pursuing them. We are asking the public to help us,” said Haiti’s police chief, Léon Charles, before a phalanx of politicians and police.
Colombia’s defense minister, Diego Molano, said the government was cooperating with an official request from Interpol, the global police agency, for information about the detained suspects. He added that initial information suggested that they were retired members of the Colombian military.
The detainees were lined up at the news conference Thursday night in handcuffs, some showing signs of physical injuries. A table displayed at least 10 Colombian passports, along with automatic weapons, sledgehammers and saws.
The country’s interim prime minister Claude Joseph said a group of foreigners had entered the country to kill the president “in a cowardly fashion.”
“They forgot something,” he said. “You may kill the president, but you cannot kill his dreams, you cannot kill his ideology, and you cannot kill what he was fighting for. That’s why I’m determined for President Jovenel Moïse’s family, friends and allies, and the Haitian population, to get justice.”
Civilians hunt for suspects
Angry civilians have also joined in the hunt, capturing some suspects themselves and setting afire vehicles thought to have been used in the attack. Haiti is now basically under martial law after Mr. Joseph declared an “état de siège” — a state of siege — that allows the police and members of security forces to enter homes, control traffic and take special security measures. It also forbids meetings meant to excite or prepare for the disorder.
The rapidly evolving crisis deepened the turmoil and violence that has gripped Haiti for months, threatening to tip one of the world’s most troubled nations further into lawlessness. Questions swirled about who might have been behind such a brazen attack and how they eluded the president’s security detail to carry it out.
There were reports of fighting between suspects and security forces throughout the day. Earlier Thursday, Helen La Lime, the top U.N. official in Haiti, told reporters that a group of suspects had “taken refuge in two buildings in the city and are now surrounded by police.” She spoke via teleconference from Port-au-Prince, after briefing the United Nations Security Council on the Haitian crisis in a private meeting. It was unclear if the situation had been resolved.
Haiti’s ambassador to the United States, Bocchit Edmond, has described the assailants as “well-trained professionals, killers,