Colombia, US to send officials to help Haiti find assassination masterminds

Colombia, US to send officials to help Haiti find assassination masterminds

Colombia’s President Iván Duque has offered to collaborate with Haiti to find the masterminds who orchestrated the killing of President Jovenel Moïse. Duque made the announcement via Twitter Friday and also spoke by phone with Haitian interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph.

“I just spoke with the Prime Minister of Haiti Claude Joseph,” Duque said. “We express our solidarity and support at this time. We offer all our collaboration to find the truth about the material and intellectual authors of the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse.”

Twenty-six of the 28 suspects are Colombians, police said. Fifteen of the Colombians have been arrested so far, three were killed. At least six of the Colombian suspects are former soldiers, Colombia’s government said, according to CBC. The two other suspects arrested are Haitian-Americans.

The U.S. also announced that it will send senior officials from the FBI and Department of Homeland Security to assess the situation and see how to best assist, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.

The two Haitian-Americans suspects arrested, James Solages and Joseph Vincent, told an investigative judge that they only served as translators and that it wasn’t the group’s intention to kill Moïse but only arrest him, according to The New York Times.

The pair also told Judge Clément Noël that they found the job in an online post and the attack was planned for a month.

Colombia police officials were tasked with helping Haiti combat kidnapping in March. They released a three-month assessment in May. Rumors have been spreading among Haitians that those police officials teamed up with the Colombian suspects to assassinate Moïse, but that information has not been verified. Haiti’s government has yet to comment on the rumors.

Haiti’s armed forces will collaborate with Colombia police officials to track down the eight remaining Colombian mercenaries and the masterminds behind Jovenel Moise’s assassination. Photo by Georges H. Rouzier for The Haitian Times

Duque said the director of the Colombia police force’s intelligence unit is scheduled to arrive in Haiti Friday, alongside Colombia’s International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) personnel. Colombia’s Director of National Intelligence will also make the trip. 

“The Colombian Head of State has promised the head of the Haitian government all the collaboration of his country in the progress of the investigation of the assassination of the President of the Republic of Haiti,” the interim Prime Minister’s office wrote in a statement.

Scores of Haitians and Haitian-Americans are suspicious of the upcoming arrival of more Colombian police officials.

“Don’t be too naive!,” Serge Jeudy replied to Haiti’s Prime Minister’s office after they posted their statement.

It was initially reported that the 26 Colombian suspects are former soldiers in this article but the Colombian government later said that least six of them are former military men.

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