Haiti police reject reports implicating government in murder of president

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On Thursday, Haitian authorities forcefully rejected reports that current government officials were involved in the murder of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, calling them a “lie”.

Léon Charles, Haiti’s national police chief, denied a report by Caracol news, a private Colombia-based television station, that acting Prime Minister Claude Joseph was the mastermind of the July 7 murder.

“Police warn against any propaganda creating a diversion,” he said, adding that the government had no evidence to support these claims.

Haitian authorities have also not been very forthcoming with information about who may be behind the murder, suggesting that media reports implicating current officials have struck a chord within the government.

In Colombia, General Jorge Luis Vargas, chief of that country’s national police, told reporters he had no information to suggest that Joseph had played a role in the plot.

SUSPECT OF ASSASSINATION OF PRESIDENT OF HAITITI WAS CONFIDENTIAL SOURCE OF DEA, OFFICIAL SAYS

Charles also said the chief of Moïse’s security service, Dimitri Hérard, was removed from his post and taken into solitary detention after officials questioned him. The police had announced his detention in recent days. Charles said authorities would meet with him for a third time before deciding on next steps.

Hérard was not officially named as a suspect in the investigation, but many Haitians wondered how attackers could have invaded the president’s house and killed him without injuring those charged with protecting him.

The press conference came a day after the Colombian TV station aired a report which it said was based on information from FBI sources and Haitian authorities as well as phone calls, photos and reports. testimonies from people accused of participating in the conspiracy.

The suspects of the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise are thrown to the ground after being detained, at the General Directorate of Police in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Thursday, July 8, 2021. A Haitian judge involved in the investigation on the murder said President Moise was shot a dozen times and his office and bedroom were ransacked.  (AP Photo / Jean Marc Hervé Abélard)
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The suspects of the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise are thrown to the ground after being detained, at the General Directorate of Police in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Thursday, July 8, 2021. A Haitian judge involved in the investigation on the murder said President Moise was shot a dozen times and his office and bedroom were ransacked. (AP Photo / Jean Marc Hervé Abélard)

“I officially deny these allegations,” Charles said, calling them “lies”.

Joseph, the acting prime minister, was about to be replaced when the assassination took place. Moïse had appointed him to this post in April following the resignation of Joseph Jouthe, who held the post for a little over a year.

Two days before the assassination, Moses announced that he had chosen a new prime minister, neurosurgeon Ariel Henry. But the new prime minister was yet to be sworn in by July 7, and Joseph insisted he is in charge of government, a claim that has been recognized by the United States and others.

Charles said police arrested 23 people in the murder, including 18 former Colombian soldiers, three Haitians and two Haitian-Americans. Police also issued seven arrest warrants, searched 10 buildings, conducted 27 interrogations and placed four high-ranking police officers in solitary confinement, he said.

He added that the investigation received assistance from the FBI and foreign countries he did not name.

Colombian President Iván Duque told private radio La FM on Thursday that only a small group of former Colombian soldiers linked to the murder knew it would be a criminal operation. He said the others had been duped into believing they would be traveling on a protection mission.

“Once there, the information given to them changed,” Duque said, adding that “they ended up being involved in these unfortunate events.”

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The Pentagon issued a statement indicating that a small number of Colombian suspects had previously received U.S. military training and education programs while serving in the Colombian military. He said he had no further details to offer pending a review which is still ongoing.

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