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  • Jovenel Moise assassination

image copyrightReutersimage captionPublic anger has been rising over the killing, with a crowd forming outside a police station in Port-au-Prince

Police in Haiti have killed or arrested the gunmen suspected of killing President Jovenel Moïse, but say they are still hunting the masterminds.

Four gunmen have been killed and six more detained including, reportedly, a US citizen, although whether the police operation is over is unclear.

People were urged to stay calm after they burned cars and seized two "foreigners" who they handed to police.

President Moïse was shot dead at his home in the early hours of Wednesday.

His wife, Martine, was seriously injured and has been flown to Florida for hospital treatment.

Acting prime minister, Claude Joseph, delivered a press briefing on Thursday afternoon, alongside police chief Léon Charles.

Mr Charles suggested that those who had carried out the attack had been apprehended and that the search now was for those who had masterminded the operation.

He said police had "blocked [the suspects] en route as they left the scene of the crime", killing four.

Mr Joseph said the family of Mr Moïse expected "justice" but there remain a number of possible perpetrators.

Mr Moïse, 53, was deeply unpopular with many Haitians, and had many political opponents . The impoverished nation has also seen gang warfare.

The suggestion from many official quarters has been that the assassination involved at least some "foreign mercenaries". Early reports said the attackers spoke English and Spanish – the Haitian official languages are French and Creole.

image copyrightEPAimage captionOne of a number of cars set on fire during anger over the killing

Although the streets had remained fairly calm in the immediate aftermath of the assassination, the suspected involvement of foreigners has increased anger among the public.

Mr Charles urged residents to remain calm and co-operate with the police, after a crowd had gathered outside a police station in the capital Port-au-Prince where suspects were being detained.

Dozens of Haitians had earlier seized two men, suspecting them of being involved in the shooting. Video footage showed the pair, who appeared to have suffered injuries, being driven away by armed officers in a pick-up.

The US citizen arrested was of Haitian descent the elections minister, Mathias Pierre, said.

The US state department said it could not confirm if a US citizen had been held.

Who is in control of the country?

The constitution says the president of the Supreme Court should take over in the event of a presidential vacancy but he recently died of Covid-19.

After that, the amendments suggest the prime minister should lead. Claude Joseph has been taking the press conferences.

He earlier declared a two-week state of emergency.

However, Ariel Henry, who was named this week as the new PM but who has yet to be sworn-in, insists he should be in charge.

The UN on Thursday gave a boost to Mr Joseph.

The UN special envoy for Haiti, Helen La Lime, said he should remain in charge until elections could be held this year.

And the US said again on Thursday that elections should go ahead this year, with White House spokesperson Jen Psaki saying they would "facilitate a peaceful transfer of power".

ReutersHaiti: Key facts

  • 11 millioninhabitants

  • 59%percentage who live below the poverty line

  • 2004-2017years in which a UN peacekeeping force was present

  • 200,000number of people killed in the 2010 earthquake

Source: BBC MonitoringHow did the attack unfold?

Heavily armed assassins stormed the president's home in the hills above Port-au-Prince at around 01:00 local time (05:00 GMT) on Wednesday.

Video released after the shooting appeared to show heavily armed men dressed in black pretending to be US drugs agents, shouting: "DEA [US Drug Enforcement Administration] operations, everybody stay down!"

Mr Moïse died at the scene. The president's body had 12 bullet wounds, Magistrate Carl Henry Destin told Le Nouvelliste newspaper.

The president's office and bedroom were ransacked and he was found lying on his back, covered in blood, the magistrate said.

The first couple's three children, Jomarlie, Jovenel Jr and Joverlein, are reportedly in a "safe location", officials said.

image copyrightEPAimage captionIt is unclear how the attackers gained access to Mr Moïse's home

Even before President Moïse's assassination, the situation in Haiti was marked by instability and there had been widespread protests demanding his resignation.

media captionWhy are there so many protests in Haiti?

Parliamentary elections should have been held in October 2019 but disputes delayed them, meaning Mr Moïse had been ruling by decree.