Haitian police have announced the detention of the slain president Jovenel Moise’s chief bodyguard and three other members of his security detail while confirming that his assassination by armed mercenaries was planned in the neighboring Dominican Republic.
The late President and his wife Martine were riddled with 12 bullets and he had his eye gouged out during Wednesday’s brutal attack, which killed him and left his wife seriously injured.
Authorities said the hit squad entered the Haitian leader’s residence in Port-au-Prince and killed him, with no injuries to his bodyguards, raising suspicions that the July 7 attack may have been an inside job.
Police have also declared former Haitian opposition senator Joel John Joseph wanted after he was pictured meeting two suspects.
According to Haitian national police director Leon Charles, the picture was taken as the trio were in the Dominican capital plotting to kill Moise, whose body was found riddled with bullets.
“They met in a hotel in Santo Domingo,” Charles told reporters. “Around the table, there are the architects of the plot, a technical recruitment team, and a finance group.”
“Some individuals in the photo have already been apprehended, such as Dr. Christian Emmanuel Sanon and James Solages,” Charles added.
Both suspects are Haitian-Americans. Police say Solages coordinated with Miami-based Venezuelan security firm CTU as part of the plot.
“The head of the firm, Antonio Emmanuel Intriago Valera, is in the picture,” said Charles. “He entered Haiti several times to plan the assassination.”
Florida-based financial services company Worldwide Capital Lending Group funded the attack, Charles said, adding that its boss Walter Veintemilla also appears with the plotters.
Three Colombian mercenaries have been killed and 18 arrested by Haitian police.
“There was a group of four (mercenaries) who were already in the country. The others entered on June 6. They went through the Dominican Republic. We traced the credit card that was used to buy the plane tickets,” said Charles.
“They are former Colombian special force operatives. They are experts, criminals. This was a well-planned attack,” the police chief added.
Among the four presidential security officials placed in solitary confinement at the police headquarters were Dimitri Herard, the head of Moise’s personal security detail, and three others. Another 24 were subject to inquiries, Charles said.
Haiti has called on the United States which has trained Colombian forces in the past — for help in shedding light on who was behind the assassination.
“A review of our training databases indicates that a small number of the Colombian individuals detained as part of this investigation had participated in past US military training and education programs, while serving as active members of the Colombian military forces,” said Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Ken Hoffman.
He said he had nothing to add as the “review is ongoing.”