Americas

Haitian assassins falsely claimed to be U.S. drug agents, envoy to U.S. says

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People walk past a wall with a mural depicting Haiti's President Jovenel Moise, after he was shot dead by unidentified attackers in his private residence, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti July 7, 2021. REUTERS/Robenson Sanon

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WASHINGTON, July 7 (Reuters) - Gunmen who assassinated Haitian President Jovenel Moise falsely identified themselves as agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Haitian ambassador to the United States said on Wednesday, citing video footage the government has in its possession.

"No way they were DEA agents," Bocchit Edmond told Reuters in an interview hours after Moise was shot dead and his wife was wounded by unidentified gunmen in their private residence overnight, stirring fears of a breakdown in order in the impoverished Caribbean nation, already reeling from rampant gang violence and facing a constitutional crisis.

The Haitian envoy did not share the video footage and Reuters could not independently verify the authenticity of imagery circulating in social media online.

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Edmond urged the United States to provide security assistance to help strengthen the national police, including through training and equipment, adding that U.S. officials had told him they would assess the request.

He declined to name the officials but said he had been in touch with the White House and State Department.

"The issue is the national police is under equipped. It needs more equipment. Therefore, it is very important for the U.S. to help us on this ... so we can create a better environment, a peaceful environment for the elections to come," Edmond said.

He called for an international manhunt that would include Washington to investigate and identify Moise's killers.

U.S. President Joe Biden said he was shocked and saddened by the assassination of Moise and wounding of his wife Martine in their home, calling it worrisome and saying his administration needed more information. read more

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Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis and Doyinsola Oladipo; Writing by Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by Howard Goller

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