Updated Jul 7, 2021 - World

Haiti President Jovenel Moïse assassinated

Jovenel Moise, Haiti's president, sits for a photograph following an interview in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, on Monday, Jan. 29, 2018.
Jovenel Moïse sits for a photograph following an interview in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, on Monday, Jan. 29, 2018. Photo: Alejandro Cegarra/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated at home at around 1 am Wednesday by an unidentified group of gunmen, AP reports.

The latest: President Biden expressed support for the people of Haiti on Wednesday, saying in a statement: "We condemn this heinous act, and I am sending my sincere wishes for First Lady Moïse's recovery."

  • "The United States offers condolences to the people of Haiti, and we stand ready to assist as we continue to work for a safe and secure Haiti," Biden added.
  • White House press secretary Jen Psaki said this morning on CNN that the White House and State Department are still gathering details about the situation.

State of play: Moïse's wife, first lady Martine Moïse, is hospitalized, interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph said in a statement Wednesday. The U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince issued a security alert calling on staff to avoid unnecessary travel in the area.

What they're saying: Joseph condemned what he called an "inhumane and barbaric act," adding: "The country's security situation is under the control of the National Police of Haiti and the Armed Forces of Haiti. Democracy and the republic will win."

  • Joseph said the "highly coordinated" attack was carried out by a "highly trained and heavily armed group" at around 1am on July 7. He called on the international community to launch an investigation, and for the United Nations Security Council to hold a meeting on Haiti as soon as possible.
  • "We urge Haitians to show restraint and maintain a peaceful environment over the coming days," Joseph said.

The big picture: The violence comes amid increasing political instability in Haiti and calls for Moïse's removal from office before his term ended. Gang violence has spiked significantly in the capital of Port-au-Prince as the country continues to grapple with poverty and a cycle of delayed election.

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