President Jovenel Moise was assassinated in his home early Wednesday after a group of assailants broke into the room and shot him dead, interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph confirmed to the press.

Haiti’s First Lady was also injured during the attacked and was brought to the hospital for treatment.

The attackers gunned down the president at 1 a.m. critically wounding the head of state.

The assassination was described as a "heinous, inhumane, and barbaric act" by the Prime Minister.

“The country’s security situation is under the control of the National Police of Haiti and the Armed Forces of Haiti,” Joseph said in a statement. “Democracy and the republic will win.”

Joseph said that authorities had the situation under control, but gunshots were heard across the city following the incident. Local officials found ransacked businesses in one area of Port-au-Prince, according to Reuters.

The streets of the Caribbean nation's capital, Port-au-Prince, were mostly deserted early Wednesday morning, but some individuals destroyed stores in one section. The city of Port-au-Prince has been experiencing an uptick in violence as gangs struggle with authorities for control of the streets.

A rise in poverty and political instability exacerbated the bloodshed.

Police have been dispatched to the National Palace and the affluent town of Pétionville, while others will be sent to priority areas.

Since taking office as president in 2017, Moise has encountered intense resistance, with the opposition accusing him of creating a dictatorship government by overstaying his mandate and becoming increasingly authoritarian, reports say.

Moise denied the allegations.

The opposition has claimed that he'd have already resigned on Feb. 7, citing a constitutional clause that states that a president's tenure begins when he is elected, not when he enters the office.

Moise holds the office for more than a year after the country's legislative elections were canceled, where he sought to push through a disputed constitutional revision.

Moise stated that his five-year tenure should finish in 2022, a position supported by the US, UN, and Organization of American States. In a statement, the U.S. Embassy announced it will be closed on Wednesday due to the "ongoing security situation."

Jovenel Moise
President Haiti Jovenel Moise addresses the United Nations General Assembly on September 27, 2018 in New York City. John Moore/Getty Images

© 2024 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.