Haitian President Jovenel Moise was killed during an attack on his private residence early on Wednesday, according to the country’s acting Prime Minister Claude Joseph.
Joseph said in a statement that a group of unidentified individuals attacked Moise’s home at around 1 a.m. and fatally wounded the head of state. Haiti’s first lady was also shot and is receiving treatment, he added.
The Prime Minister condemned what he described as a “heinous, inhumane and barbaric act” and called for calm.
“The security situation in the country is under the control of the Haitian National Police and the Haitian Armed Forces,” the statement added. “All measures are being taken to guarantee the continuity of the State and to protect the Nation.”
Moise was 53 years old. The former banana exporter spent most of the past year waging a political war with the opposition over the terms of his presidency.
Moise claimed his five-year term should end in 2022 — a stance backed by the United States, United Nations and Organization of American States.
The opposition has argued he should have stepped down on February 7 this year, citing a constitutional provision that starts the clock on the term once a president is elected, rather than when he takes office.