A bullet-riddled SUV and shell casings on the ground marked the aftermath of the Wednesday morning assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, grim photos from the scene show.
Moïse, 53, was shot dead and first lady Martine Moïse wounded when a team of unidentified gunmen reportedly claiming to be agents of the US Drug Enforcement Administration stormed their Port-au-Prince compound around 1 a.m. local time.
Hours later, photos published by Turkey’s Anadolu Agency news outlet captured the scene outside the home where Moïse was gunned down.
A white SUV was pockmarked on its passenger side with apparent bullet holes, its rear passenger window partially blown out, one photo shows.
Another shot shows two spent shells lying on the ground on the street outside Moïse’s residence.
Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph, who has assumed control of the impoverished Caribbean nation for the time being, said at least some of the unapprehended assailants were speaking Spanish, while sources told the Miami Herald that one of the assassins spoke English with an American accent.
The primary languages in Haiti are French and Haitian Creole.
The source, a high-ranking Haitian government official, told the Herald that the assassins were “mercenaries” unaffiliated with the DEA.
The assassination, which came just two months ahead of an election for a new president and parliament, threatens to plunge Haiti into further chaos as it struggles with ongoing political instability, poverty and gang violence, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Moïse, who had ruled since 2017, had faced mounting opposition criticism, including claims that he was supposed to step down in February 2021.