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Haitian president assassinated, state of emergency declared

Haitian president assassinated, state of emergency declared

President Jovenel Moïse of Haiti has been killed and his wife hurt during same attack at their home in the nation’s capital, Port-au-Prince.

At 01:00 local time (05:00 GMT) on Wednesday, unidentified gunmen entered the property  interim PM Claude Joseph said.

Mr Moïse was elected 2017 but had faced widespread protests demanding his resignation.

Mr Joseph called the shooting of the president a “heinous, inhuman and barbaric act”, saying the attackers spoke “English and Spanish”. He gave no further details.

He said the situation in the Caribbean nation was under control, adding: “Democracy and the republic will win.”

The streets of the capital appeared to be largely empty on Wednesday morning, but questions remain about how much control Mr Joseph can assert in a nation plagued by political instability and gang violence.

The neighbouring Dominican Republic ordered the “immediate closure” of its border with Haiti.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted that he was “shocked and saddened at the death of Mr Moïse”, calling it “an abhorrent act” and appealing for calm. The White House called the killing a “horrific crime”.

First Lady Martine Moïse is being treated in hospital but her condition remains unclear.

Haitian president assassinated and wife hurt

Since his election, the president had faced accusations of corruption and there were widespread demonstrations in the capital and other cities earlier this year.

Haiti’s opposition said that Mr Moïse’s five-year term should have ended on 7 February 2021, five years to the day since his predecessor, Michel Martelly, stepped down.

But there had been a year’s delay to elections after Mr Martelly’s departure, and Mr Moïse insisted he had one more year to serve as he did not take office until 7 February 2017.

Parliamentary elections should have been held in October 2019 but disputes have delayed them, meaning Mr Moïse had been ruling by decree.

In February this year, on the day the opposition wanted him to leave office, Mr Moïse said a plot to kill him had been thwarted.

The worsening living standards have pushed nearly 60% below the poverty line.

An earthquake in 2010 killed more than 200,000 people and caused extensive damage to infrastructure and the economy.

A UN peacekeeping force was put in place in 2004 to help stabilise the country, and only withdrew in 2017, but the turmoil has shown no sign of ending.

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