Haitian President Jovenel Moise was assassinated at his home by a group of unidentified people in the capital Port-Au-Prince, the Associated Press reported, citing a statement from the country’s interim prime minister.
First Lady Martine Moise was injured and is in the hospital, it added.
Haiti’s National Police and other authorities are working to keep order, the interim premier Claude Joseph was quoted by AP as saying in the statement. The New York public relations firm that represents Haiti’s government acknowledged “the terrible news” and said a formal statement was forthcoming.
Haiti, one of the poorest nations in the Americas, has struggled for political stability for decades. Its proximity to the US makes its protracted chaos a test for President Joe Biden.
On top of the pandemic and a faltering economy, Haiti faces a constitutional power struggle stemming from a chaotic election which saw Moise only sworn in 15 months after a first-round vote. As a result, he had said his five-year term would run until February 2022, while the opposition said his term ended last February.
Moise had governed by decree since January 2020, when parliamentary terms expired without elections being held. The opposition had said he was illegally amassing power and enacting laws in violation of the constitution. Moise responded to the claims by saying he was “not a dictator.”