The aftermath of Haitian President Jovenel Moise’s assassination was visible on Friday near his private residence in the capital, Port-au-Prince.
A shootout between the police and some of the suspected assassins on Route de Kenscoff left behind burned out cars, spent bullet casings, bloodstains, and bullet-pocked walls.
The three burned-out cars, according to Haitian authorities, belonged to members of the armed group that assassinated Moise early Wednesday morning.
Authorities have described the armed group as “professional killers” made up of more than two dozen people, including two American citizens and retired Colombian military personnel.
However, as more information about the assailants of Moise emerges, little is known about the alleged masterminds and their motivation for the attack.
In connection with the fatal shooting, police have detained 17 suspects so far, and at least eight more are being sought across the country.
Officials in Haiti have given conflicting accounts and figures for the number of people killed in the assassination attempt. According to Haitian police, three suspects were killed in a shootout with authorities, according to the office of acting Prime Minister Claude Joseph.
Details about the arrest of 11 armed men in the grounds of the Taiwan embassy in the capital Port-au-Prince on Thursday have emerged as the hunt for those responsible heats up.
The embassy called local police after security guards reported “a group of armed suspects” entering the embassy grounds, according to Taiwan’s foreign ministry spokesperson Joanne Ou. She said 11 suspects, described as “mercenaries” in a separate foreign ministry statement, were arrested without resistance at 4 p.m. inside the embassy, with only a few doors and windows damaged.
The nationalities of those detained have not been revealed by the Taiwanese Foreign Ministry, and it is unclear whether the 11 suspects are among the 17 people detained by police.
Crowds of people took to the streets Thursday night, burning cars and demanding justice as tensions in the capital rose. For weeks, Port-au-Prince has been wracked by violence that has claimed the lives of a large number of residents. Moise’s death has created a power vacuum, escalating the chaos caused by the violence, a worsening humanitarian crisis, and the Covid-19 epidemic.
The foreign nationals arrested in connection with the shooting have sparked a lot of public outrage so far. Elections Minister Mathias Pierre told CNN late Thursday that two Americans were among the 17 people arrested. James Solages and Joseph Vincent, both naturalized citizens of Haiti, were identified by Pierre.
Separately, Police Chief Charles announced on Thursday that 15 of those detained were Colombian nationals. At a press conference, he displayed some of the suspects alongside a variety of military-style weapons.