Haitian President Jovenel Moise, 53-year-old, was shot and killed in an attack at his home Wednesday. The president’s wife was wounded in the attack and remains hospitalized. A group of unidentified individuals, some of whom spoke Spanish, raided Moise’s private residence in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, at around 1 a.m. local time. Haitian interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph condemned what he called a “hateful, inhumane and barbaric act” and said the Caribbean country’s national police force and military had the situation under control. “All measures are being taken to guarantee the continuity of the state and to protect the nation,” he added. The Toussaint Louverture International Airport near Port-au-Prince has been closed. Haiti had been in the midst of a constitutional crisis as Moise and opposition leaders disputed the end of his five-year presidential term. The opposition claimed Moise’s mandate ended on Feb. 7, four years after he took office. But Moise said he had one more year left because a disputed election delayed his 2017 inauguration.
Moise had been governing by decree since January 2020, after the country failed to hold legislative elections and the legislature’s mandate expired. With two controversial decrees, Moise has limited the power of courts to perform audits on public procurement contracts and created an intelligence service that only answers to the president. Haiti was scheduled to have a constitutional referendum in September. The Dominican Republic announced it was closing the border that it shares with Haiti on the island Hispaniola. The US Embassy announced it would be closed Wednesday due to the deteriorated security situation in Haiti.