President of Haiti assassinated at home, countrys interim PM says

Haitian President Jovenel Moise has been assassinated at home, according to the country’s interim prime minister.

A group of unidentified individuals attacked the private residence of Mr Moise, 53, overnight and shot him dead, Claude Joseph said in a statement.

Haiti‘s first lady Martine Moise is said to be in hospital.

Mr Joseph called the killing a “hateful, inhumane and barbaric act,” before adding: “Democracy and the republic will win.”

He also said Haiti’s National Police and other authorities had the situation under control with officers deployed to the National Palace and the upscale community of Petionville.

The premier said some of the attackers spoke Spanish but added no further explanation.

The impoverished Caribbean country had grown increasingly unstable and disgruntled under Mr Moise’s rule, bringing an eruption of violent protests, kidnappings and organised crime.

In recent months, opposition leaders demanded he step down, arguing that his term legally ended in February.

But Mr Moise and his supporters maintained that his term began when he took office in early 2017, since an interim government ran the country for a year after his election victory in 2016.

Meanwhile, gang violence has surged heavily in the capital of Port-au-Prince, inflation has spiralled and food and fuel has at times become scarce in a country where 60% of the population makes less than $2 a day.

The troubles come as Haiti still tries to recover from the devastating 2010 earthquake and Hurricane Matthew that struck in 2016.

Mr Moise had been ruling by decree for more than two years after the country failed to hold elections, which led to Parliament being dissolved.

Opposition leaders have accused him of seeking to increase his power, including approving a decree that limited the powers of a court that audits government contracts and another that created an intelligence agency that answers only to the president.

Haiti was scheduled to hold general elections later this year.

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