Haitian President Jovenel Moïse has been assassinated, and his wife wounded, by a group of men claiming to be agents of the US Drug Enforcement Administration.
The announcement was made by interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph, who called it a "hateful, inhumane and barbaric act," The New York Post reports.
"An unidentified group of individuals, some of whom were speaking in Spanish, attacked the private residence of the President of the Republic and mortally wounded him," said Joseph. The killing of the 53-year-old president reportedly took place at 1am local time, in Port-au-Prince.
This news makes Claude Joseph in charge of the Caribbean country of 11 million people.
While the Miami Herald reported that the killers claimed to be working as agents for the US Drug Enforcement Administration, sources told the New York Post that they were, in fact, not employed by the American Government.
Joseph added that "The security situation of the country is under the control of the Haitian National Police and the Haitian Armed Forces. All measures are being taken to guarantee the continuity of the State and to protect the nation. Democracy and the Republic will triumph."
President Moïse had been elected in 2017, but had been ruling by decree since January 2020. This had led to opposition leaders accusing him of trying to increase his power.
The White House has commented on the issue, with Press Secretary Jen Psaki saying on MSNBC that the "horrific attack, this tragic attack" is being assessed and that President Joe Biden will receive a briefing on the assassination.
"We will be helpful in any way to the people of Haiti, to the government of Haiti, if there’s an investigation, but we're still assessing right now, we're still gathering information. The president, of course, will be briefed by his national security team this morning," said Psaki.