Things That Matter

A Band Of Colombian Mercenaries Assassinated Haitian President Jovenel Moïse

via Getty Images

On Wednesday, the entire world reeled at the news that the Haitian president, 53-year-old Jovenel Moïse, had been assassinated. Haiti is already a country wracked by poverty, gang violence, and political and economic instability. The violent killing of the nation’s political leader is sure to make an already bad situation worse. As authorities scrambled to get to the bottom of who was behind the assassination orders, the plot has thickened.

According to reports, a group of 26 Colombian mercenaries killed President Jovenel Moïse. They were assisted by two Haitian-Americans who reportedly acted as translators for the group.

The Haitian government discovered the band of Colombian mercenaries after they staged a raid on the Taiwanese embassy, where the mercenaries were attempting to seek refuge. Two of the mercenaries were killed in the raid. Authorities have arrested 15 of the Colombian suspects as well as the two Americans. Eight of the other suspects are still at large.

The Colombian government has since pledged to work in full cooperation with the Haitian government. “We offer all possible help to find out the truth about the material and intellectual perpetrators of the assassination,” wrote Colombian president Ivan Duque on Twitter. He also said that he was in contact with Haiti’s interim prime minister, Claude Joseph.

According to reports, the group of mercenaries is largely made up of ex-members of Colombia’s military. Colombia has identified 13 of the 15 Colombians as ex-military.

“In the criminal world, there is the concept of murder for hire and this is what happened: they hired some members of the (army) reserve for this purpose and they have to respond criminally for the acts they committed,” said retired Colombian army general Jaime Ruiz Barrera.

The wife of one of the mercenaries recently talked to a radio program in Colombia. The woman, identified as “Yuli,” said that her husband told her last month that he was hired by a “security firm” to work in the Dominican Republic. The last she heard from him, he told her that he had been “attacked”. She said his message sounded like a “farewell”. Authorities now know that the mercenaries traveled to Haiti byway of both Panama and the Dominican Republic.

Authorities and intelligence officers are still trying to uncover a motive for the killing. Until then, the entire ordeal is shrouded in mystery. Colombian authorities, however, reported that they have identified four companies as being involved in the “recruitment, the gathering of these people”. They have not identified the companies yet because their names are “still being verified”.

The Americans have been identified as 35-year-old James Solages and 55-year-old Joseph Vincent. Both of whom are from Florida.

According to reports by a Haitian newspaper, the Americans claimed that the plan had not been to kill President Moïse, only to arrest him. Meanwhile, the United States government has also released statements pledging support for Haiti.

“The United States remains engaged and in close consultations with our Haitian and international partners to support the Haitian people in the aftermath of the assassination of the president,” said White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki in a press conference.

We now know that Haiti has asked for the U.S. to send troops to help them assist in the aftermath of the assassination of Jovenel Moïse to avoid further instability.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com