LONDON, (The Southern African Times) – Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated during an attack on his private residence, according to multiple reports.
First lady Martine Moïse was also hospitalized following the attack, The Associated Press reported, noting the country has become increasingly unstable in recent months.
Claude Joseph, the country’s interim prime minister, called the incident a “hateful, inhumane and barbaric act,” according to the AP.
“The country’s security situation is under the control of the National Police of Haiti and the Armed Forces of Haiti,” Joseph said in a statement. “Democracy and the republic will win.”
It was not immediately clear how the attack was carried out and what form of security Jovenel Moïse had at his residence.
Joseph said some of the attackers spoke in Spanish, but did not say more about a possible motive.
The AP noted that Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, has seen a sharp increase in gang violence, and inflation has risen to untenable levels while food and fuel have become scarce under Moïse’s time as president.
Moïse, 53, had been ruling by decree for more than two years and opposition leaders said he had taken steps to increase and consolidate his power.
Haiti, a small and impoverished Caribbean country, was scheduled to hold a general election later this year.