Haiti police killed four “mercenaries” they said were behind the assassination of President Jovenel Moise Wednesday and took two more into custody, as the impoverished and crisis-hit Caribbean nation was pitched into uncertainty.
Police did not identify the suspects or say what their motives were for the gun attack on Moise and his wife Martine, who survived, at their private residence in the capital Port-au-Prince in the early hours of Wednesday.
With the UN Security Council scrambling to hold an emergency meeting, set for midday Thursday, interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph declared a national “state of siege” and said he was now in charge of the country.
The airport was closed in Port-au-Prince, but witnesses said the city was quiet with the streets deserted and no extra security forces on patrol.
Police said late Wednesday they had been combing the city ever since the attack.
“Four mercenaries were killed, two were intercepted under our control. Three policemen who had been taken hostage have been recovered,” said Leon Charles, director general of Haiti’s national police.
The attack took place around 1:00 am (0500 GMT) at Moise’s home. Shell casings could be seen on the street outside as forensics experts combed the scene for evidence, and a nearby car was peppered with bullet holes with one window shattered.