Haitian President Jovenel Moise was killed at his house on Wednesday, according to Haitian officials, and his wife was injured in the incident.
Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph said Moise and his wife were shot after midnight Tuesday at their house in Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital.
It’s believed some of the attackers spoke Spanish, Joseph said in a statement. The interim prime minister condemned the attack as “inhumane” and “barbaric.”
“The country’s security situation is under the control of the National Police of Haiti and the Armed Forces of Haiti,” Joseph added. “Democracy and the republic will win.”
The Haitian Embassy in Canada also announced Moise’s death.
“It is with great sadness that we confirm the assassination of President Jovenel Moise, during an attack on his residence by mercenaries,” the embassy tweeted. “Our hearts go out to the presidential family and to the whole nation.”
According to The New York Times, several demonstrators have recently requested Moise’s resignation. Haiti was devastated by a massive earthquake in 2010 and has yet to fully recover, despite billions of dollars in rehabilitation help.
With poverty and hunger on the rise, Moise’s government has been accused of corruption and depriving Haitians of essential amenities.
“We are shocked and saddened to hear of the horrific assassination of President Jovenel Moise and the attack on first lady Martine Moise of Haiti,” U.S. President Joe Biden said in a statement. “We condemn this heinous act, and I am sending my sincere wishes for first lady Moise’s recovery.
“The United States offers condolences to the people of Haiti, and we stand ready to assist as we continue to work for a safe and secure Haiti.”
Haiti recently saw increases in COVID-19 deaths and awaits its first vaccine delivery from the international COVAX program. The country held carnival celebrations and eased restrictions earlier this year and is one of a handful of nations that have not begun vaccination programs.