Head of security at Haitian presidential palace taken into custody

More than 20 people have been arrested in relation to the assassination

Haiti’s president Jovenel Moise was assassinated last week
Haiti’s president Jovenel Moise was assassinated last week (Getty Images for Concordia Summi)

The head of security at Haiti’s presidential palace has been taken into custody, officials here said Thursday, as the investigation continued into the assassination last week of President Jovenel Moïse.

Haitian Police Director General Léon Charles confirmed that presidential security chief Dimitri Hérard has also been removed from his position. It was unclear, however, whether Mr Hérard was facing any charges in relation to the killing or if his removal was permanent.

Mr Hérard has been the target of growing anger from Haitians who demanded to know how a team of alleged assassins appeared to easily infiltrate Mr Moïse’s residence early on the morning of 7 July.

Bed-Ford Claude, a Haitian prosecutor, told The Washington Post that the country’s justice system “wants [Mr Hérard] to answer questions”.

President Joe Biden said Thursday that he had mobilised Marines to bolster security at the US Embassy in Port-au-Prince but ended consideration that other military personnel would be sent. Haitian officials had requested help to secure infrastructure.”The idea of sending American forces to Haiti is not on the agenda,” he said.

More than a week after Mr Moïse’s assassination, many questions remain unanswered. Police have arrested more than 20 people in the killing, including a Haitian man with long-standing ties to Florida, two Haitian Americans and several former Colombian soldiers.

In a radio interview Thursday, Colombian President Iván Duque said some of the former soldiers appeared genuinely to believe they were in Haiti to serve as bodyguards.

But among the soldiers was a “smaller group” that “apparently had detailed knowledge of what was to be a criminal operation,” Mr Duque told La FM radio.

Separately, the Pentagon confirmed Thursday that some of the former Colombian soldiers had previously received US military training, raising more questions about US links to the plot.

“A review of our training databases indicates that a small number of the Colombian individuals detained as part of this investigation had participated in past US military training and education programs, while serving as active members of the Colombian Military Forces,” Lieutenant Colonel Ken Hoffman, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement to The Post.

Haitian officials have rejected allegations that current government officials were involved in the assassination. Mr Charles flatly denied a Colombian news report that suggested interim prime minister Claude Joseph was behind the plot.

The story was “a lie,” Mr Charles told reporters. He said Haitian police were aware of “propaganda creating a diversion.”

The Washington Post

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in