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FBI, DHS to assist with investigation

Crowds react near Pationville police station, where armed men are being detained for their involvement in the assassination of President Jovanel Moise in Port au Prince on July 8, 2021.

Valerie Berisl | AFP | Getty Images

In response to a formal request for assistance from the Haitian government, the White House said Friday that the United States is sending senior FBI and DHS officials to Port-au-Prince to assist with the investigation into the brutal murder of Haitian President Jovenel Moise . .

“The US is still engaged and in close consultation with our Haitian and international partners to support the Haitian people following the assassination of the President,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a press briefing.

The US State Department confirmed on Friday that Haitian authorities had arrested two Americans following the president’s assassination.

“We are aware of the arrests of two US citizens in Haiti and are monitoring the situation closely,” a State Department spokesman told CNBC. “We are committed to cooperating with the Haitian authorities in the investigation.”

The State Department declined to comment further, citing privacy considerations, and pointed to Haitian officials for more information.

Haiti’s election minister, Mathias Pierre, in several news outlets on Thursday identified the US suspects, who are of Haitian descent, as 35-year-old James Soulage and 55-year-old Joseph Vincent. He is among 15 suspects. Haitian Police

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With 13 Colombians taken into custody so far in the shocking murder.

According to Haitian police, a search is on for at least nine people, and four others were killed in a shootout by police. Haiti Police Chief Leon Charles on Thursday urged the Haitian public to help officers locate other suspects, but not to “take justice into their own hands”.

US President Joe Biden on Wednesday condemned the killing and said he was “shocked and saddened” to hear about it.

“The United States extends its condolences to the people of Haiti, and we stand ready to assist as we continue to work for a safe and secure Haiti,” Biden said in a statement.

Citizens take part in a protest near the police station of Petion Ville, following the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Mosse, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, July 08, 2021.

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A group of gunmen killed Moises and injured his wife at his private residence on Wednesday, plunging the Caribbean nation into an even deeper political crisis, fueled by mass violence and protests against the late president’s increasingly authoritarian regime. happened because of.

Haiti’s interim prime minister, Claude Joseph, said the police and military security in Haiti is now in control. Authorities declared a siege in the country following the killing and closed the international airport.

Haiti’s ambassador to the US, Bokit Edmond, has called for an international investigation into the killing and sought US assistance in bolstering Haitian security.

The State Department vehemently denied Thursday that the Drug Enforcement Administration was involved in the murder because the attackers reportedly identified themselves as DEA agents.

Edmund has said that the attackers were posing as DEA agents, describing them as “well-trained professional assassins, commandos” based on video shot from a neighbor’s home during the attack. He also noted that some people speak Spanish. Haitians speak French and Creole.

Protests against the late Haitian president have turned violent in recent months as opposition leaders and their supporters demanded his resignation.

Mois was accused of seeking to increase his power even after his term ended in February. Opposition leaders pointed to the government’s approval of decrees limiting the powers of the auditing court and the creation of an intelligence agency that answers only to it.

Opposition leaders and their supporters also slammed Moise’s plans to hold a constitutional referendum with controversial proposals that would strengthen the presidency.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report

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