| 29 May 2024, Wednesday |

Haiti asks US, UN to send security forces to stabilise country: Minister

The US announced it would send the FBI and other agents to Port-au-Prince, after Haiti Haiti has urged Washington and the United Nations to send soldiers to help secure its ports, airport, and other critical facilities, in the aftermath of its president’s assassination.

Both the US State Department and the Pentagon stated that they had received a request for “security and investigative support” and that they were in communication with Port-au-Prince, but neither said whether military forces would be deployed.

The UN did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Earlier on Wednesday, unidentified gunmen shot Haiti’s 53-year-old President Jovenel Mose at his private residence in Port-au-Prince early, further destabilising the Caribbean nation, which had already been hammered by months of protests, economic struggles, and the COVID-19 outbreak.

Four suspects were killed in a gun battle on Thursday, according to the country’s police head. Two others were detained.

“We assumed the mercenaries would destroy some infrastructure to destabilise the government. We made this proposal during a chat with the US Secretary of State and the UN,” Mathias Pierre, the minister of elections said.

Washington had signalled its willingness to help the Haitian investigation, and White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki added Friday that senior FBI and other officials would be heading to the Caribbean as soon as possible.

Pierre confirmed that the request had been made as questions swirled Friday about who could have masterminded the audacious assassination, with most members of a hit squad of Colombians and Americans either dead or in custody, and no clear motive made public.

Amid the uncertainty, two men are now vying to lead the country of 11 million people, more than half of whom are under age 20. There is no working parliament.

After days of paralysis in the capital, Port-au-Prince saw the timid return of people to the streets, shops opening and the resumption of public transport on Friday morning — but under a pall of apprehension.

People scrambled to stock up on necessities at supermarkets and lined up at gas stations to buy propane used for cooking in anticipation of more instability.