Americas

One month after Haitian president slain, painful confusion prevails

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Presidential honor guards place a national flag over the coffin of late Haitian President Jovenel Moise, who was shot dead earlier this month, during the funeral at his family home in Cap-Haitien, Haiti, July 23, 2021. REUTERS/Ricardo Arduengo/File Photo

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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Aug 7 (Reuters) - A month after assassins slipped into President Jovenel Moise's private residence under the cover of nightfall and carried out a brazen attack on the head of state, the Caribbean country remains far from any clarity about the crime or emotional closure.

Haitian authorities claim a group of foreign mercenaries assassinated the 53-year-old Moise, while also implicating presidential guards, among suspects from Colombia to Florida, in a metastasizing criminal conspiracy.

But for Joverlein Moise, son of the slain leader, official pronouncements are all suspect.

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"What they told us is not the truth," he wrote on social media late Friday.

"But we are waiting."

Police and justice ministry officials have accused a group of more than 20 Colombian mercenaries of entering the president's normally well-secured hillside mansion sometime around 1:00 a.m. on July 7.

The ex-Colombian military soldiers-for-hire apparently encountered little resistance at the mansion, and allegations have since swirled around Moise's elite presidential guards with at least two leaders of the unit detained on suspicion of involvement.

Five Colombians wanted by police remain at large while hard evidence on who may have organized and financed the hit is more elusive than ever.

Haitian police detectives, who have been working with agents from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), last month arrested 63-year-old Christian Emmanuel Sanon. The Florida-based doctor has been accused helping to plot the killing.

Haiti's police chief said the previously obscure Sanon wanted to take over as president and hired the Colombian mercenaries, who were assisted by at least two Haitian-Americans on the night of the assassination.

Former First Lady Martine Moise, who was also shot in the arm in the attack, returned to Haiti on July 17 after first flying to a Miami hospital for care.

She told mourners at her husband's funeral a week later that the crisis-racked country must somehow chart a non-violent path forward.

"We do not want vengeance nor violence," she said. "Let's shout justice!"

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Reporting by Andre Paultre, Robenson Sanon and Herbert Villarraga in Port-au-Prince; Writing by David Alire Garcia; Editing by Aurora Ellis

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