Haiti President Jovenel Moise killed in attack on his residence

Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise was killed during an attack on his private residence early on Wednesday, according to the country’s acting Prime Minister Claude Joseph.

The attackers stormed Moise’s home at around 1 a.m. and fatally wounded the head of state.

Haiti’s first lady, Martine Moise, was shot in the attack and is being evacuated to a hospital in Miami for treatment, said Haiti’s ambassador to the US.

Her condition is stable but critical, Ambassador Bocchit Edmond said in a press briefing.

The attackers are believed to be “mercenaries,” Edmond also said, referring to them as “well-trained killers.”

He said video from the scene showed them speaking Spanish and said they presented themselves as Drug and Enforcement Administration (DEA) Agents.

“I believe they are fake DEA agents,” he told reporters Wednesday. Edmond asserted that the attackers were foreigners, but declined to give evidence to this beyond citing footage of them speaking Spanish.

“We don’t know how they came in,” Edmond said, adding that they did not know if the attackers were still in the country. He said if they have left, it would be via a land border with the Dominican Republic because Haiti would have detected a plane leaving and the airport has been closed since the attack. He said the airport would reopen “once we have this situation under control.”

The country has been reeling from violence for weeks. Addressing the nation in a televised statement, the acting prime minister Joseph declared a “state of siege” in Haiti and pleaded with citizens to remain calm.

The state of siege is the middle of three levels of emergency under Haitian law, alongside the lower “state of emergency” and the highest level referred to as the “state of war.”

Under the state of siege regime, national borders are closed and martial law temporarily is imposed, with Haiti’s military and national police empowered to enforce the law.