In the wake of the assassination of Haiti president Jovenel Moïse, local authorities arrested several suspects which included two Americans. Haitian authorities are now focusing their search for the brains behind the murder. At the same time, they are trying to keep Port Au-Prince from descending into chaos.
Two Americans Part Of Arrested Suspects
Haiti President Jovenel Moïse died from 12 gunshot wounds in the face and body, while First Lady Martine remains in critical condition. The assassination happened early Wednesday while the couple was at home.
Carl Henry Destin, a judge who was on the scene Wednesday morning, said they found Moïse dead in his bedroom, on his back in a white, bloodstained shirt and blue pants. Martine was flown to Florida for emergency treatment, while daughter Jomarlie Jovenel Moïse escaped unharmed by hiding in her brother’s bedroom.
Haiti’s Minister of Elections and Interparty Relations Mathias Pierre said that police made a number of arrests related to the murder. He said that among those arrested are two Americans of Haitian descent. T James Solages and Joseph Vincent.
A total of 17 suspects are now under detention, while three others were killed. Eight suspects managed to elude arrest. Other than Solages and Vincent, police identified the other suspects as Colombian nationals.
Suspects Under Detention
As of Thursday evening, officials have yet to produce evidence of the suspects’ involvement in the assassination. It remains unclear how the attack happened and why.
Instead, authorities showed images of the captured men bound and sitting on the floor of the National Police headquarters. They also showed a table displaying a trove of weapons seized from the suspects, along with passports.
Some of the suspects turned up at the Embassy of Taiwan, who allowed police to enter the grounds and arrest them.
Meanwhile, Colombian authorities confirmed that some of the suspects arrested formerly worked as members of the Colombian army. They said they already launched an investigation on why some of their ex-military ended up in Haiti.
Also, Defense Minister Diego Molano said that Interpol formally requested information about six people allegedly responsible for the act. “Initially, the information indicates that they are Colombian citizens, retired members of the national army,” he said.
National Police chief General Jorge Luis Vargas said that details on the group’s finances, time, and movement are being collected as part of the investigation. Haitian prosecutor Bed-ford Claud requested the interrogation of Dimitri Herard and Laguel Civil, senior figures in the Haiti president’s security detail.
Anger In The Capital
Tensions in the capital are already at a boiling point. Pierre shared a video showing citizens dragging two bound suspects from a home. A mob also burned three vehicles allegedly used by the suspects. Meanwhile, another group of angry residents surrounded a police station that housed some of the suspects.
“The special units are trying to protect the police station, because the population is very mad and is trying to get to them, to burn them. We’re trying to avoid that,” Pierre said. He also released the names of seven suspects, including those of Solages, Vincent, and four Colombian nationals.
James Solages, 35, is chief executive of EJS Maintenance & Repair, a company formed in Florida in 2019. He launched a nonprofit group, FWA SA A Jacmel Avan, the same year to conduct humanitarian efforts in Haiti.
Its website describes its founder as a “building engineer specialized in the field of infrastructure development” and a “certified diplomatic agent.”
Reportedly, Solages claimed that he works as the chief commander of bodyguards for the Canadian Embassy in Haiti. Meanwhile, his Facebook profile, since removed, described him as a self-employed aspiring actor who studied at Florida Career College. It listed his current city as Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and his hometown as Jacmel, Haiti.
Translators For The Group
A State Department spokesman said that they haven’t confirmed Solange’s and Vincent as American. In addition, Solages’ uncle claimed that his nephew lacked military training. He did travel frequently to Haiti for his humanitarian work. In fact, Solages ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Jacmel.
Meanwhile, Haiti’s Le Nouvelliste newspaper cited interviews on the suspects. “They said they were translators. The mission was to arrest President Jovenel Moïse, within the framework of a mandate from an investigating judge, and not to kill him,” Judge Clément Noël told the paper.
Solages has been staying in Haiti for a month, while Vincent was in-country for six months. According to the former, the ex-soldiers entered through the Dominican Republic. They were staying in the country for the last three months before the attack.
Watch the WPLG Local 10 news report saying that Haitian authorities found a South Florida Haitian-American connection to the president’s assassination:
Why do you think two Americans were part of the group who assassinated the Haiti President? Are they part of a bigger conspiracy, or were they just in the wrong place at the wrong time?
Tell us what you think happened over Haiti, and why Americans seem to end up involved. Share your comments below.