Haiti's President Jovenel Moise was killed in an attack at his residence after a group of unidentified individuals stormed his home at around 1 a.m. local time.
The country's acting Prime Minister Claude Joseph said the president was killed in a "highly coordinated attack by a highly trained and heavily armed group."
Here's what else we know:
- Haitian first lady Martine Moise was shot and injured in the attack, and has been taken to Miami for treatment. Her condition is described as stable but critical.
- The attackers have not been caught and no one has claimed responsibility, but the Haitian ambassador to the US, Bocchit Edmond, said the killers were "well-trained" and believed to be “mercenaries."
- The US denies that attackers were Drug Enforcement Administration agents, after video from the scene showed the attackers presenting themselves as such.
- World leaders have condemned the assassination and are calling for unity in the wake of the attack, with the UN Security Council expected to meet Thursday.
- Haiti has declared a "state-of-siege" for the next 15 days, which means all borders are closed and martial law is temporarily imposed, with Haiti’s military and the Haiti National Police (HNP) empowered to enforce the law.
- Two weeks of national mourning has been called for in tribute to Moise, which scheduled to start Thursday and end on July 22.
- The attack comes amid a backdrop of political instability, with many key roles in the country’s government already empty and the parliament effectively defunct. The country’s opposition movement has long called for Moise to resign.
- The future leadership of the country is not yet clear. Moise had just named a new prime minister, neurosurgeon Ariel Henry, on July 5. However, it is his predecessor -- acting prime minister Claude Joseph — who has assumed control of the country in the wake of the president’s death.
- Criminal violence escalated in the capital city Port-au-Prince in the month of June, including attacks on police and arson of civilian homes. More than 10,000 people have fled to temporary shelters. The country was also rocked by a wave of kidnappings earlier this year.
- Covid-19 is also on the rise in Haiti, with its highest death toll yet reported in June. Pan American Health Organization Director Carissa F. Etienne last month called on the international community to “urgently” assist the country in combating the virus.
- Haiti is heading toward elections and a controversial constitutional referendum in September. The referendum had been championed by Moise as an opportunity to strengthen the Haitian presidency.