Haiti’s President Jovenel Moïse has been assassinated during an attack on his private residence on the outskirts of the capital, Port-au-Prince.
Haiti’s First Lady Martine Moïse was also shot during the attack and is currently receiving medical treatment.
The shocking announcement was made by the country’s acting Prime Minister, Claude Joseph.
“It is with great sadness that we confirm the assassination of President Jovenel Moise, during an attack on his residence by mercenaries,” Joseph tweeted. “The First Lady, injured, receives the necessary care. Our hearts go out to the presidential family and to the whole nation.”
Joseph also added that the president had been “cowardly assassinated,” but that the murderers “cannot assassinate his ideas.”
Violent protests erupted in Haiti earlier this year as protestors called for Moïse to step down, angered that he failed to put an end to the rampant kidnappings and gang activity on the island. The leader’s five-year term ended in February, but Moïse refused to step down, arguing that an interim government occupied the first year of his five-year term, insisting the country has thrived under his leadership.
Moïse was voted into office in 2016 and took office in February 2017.
“The battle I’m waging is not for myself, it’s for you,” Moïse said at the time. “I’m not here to lie to you today, I’m here to tell you the truth. … My brothers and sisters in the opposition don’t let pride, revenge, selfishness keep you from working with me.”
“I am not a dictator,” Moïse added. “My term ends Feb. 7, 2022.”