According to Haiti’s interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph, President Jovenel Moise was assassinated in an attack on his private house early Wednesday.
A gang of unidentified persons assaulted Moise’s residence at approximately 1 a.m., Joseph said in a statement, mortally wounding the head of state. He also stated that Haiti’s first lady was wounded and is undergoing treatment.
The incident was described as a “heinous, cruel, and brutal act” by the Prime Minister, who asked for calm.
“The Haitian National Police and the Haitian Armed Forces are in charge of the country’s security situation,” the statement said. “Every effort is being done to ensure the State’s continuation and to defend the Nation.”
Moise was 53 years old at the time. The former banana exporter has spent the most of the past year in a political battle with the opposition over his presidency’s terms.
Moise stated that his five-year tenure should finish in 2022, a position supported by the US, UN, and Organization of American States.
The opposition has claimed that he should have resigned on February 7, citing a constitutional clause that states that a president’s tenure begins when he is elected, not when he enters office.