The US is sending FBI and Homeland Security officials to Haiti in the wake of the assassination of the country’s president, Jovenal Moïse, who was killed on Wednesday.
“In response to the Haitian government’s request for security and investigative assistance, we will be sending senior FBI and DHS officials to Port-au-Prince as soon as possible to assess the situation and how we may be able to assist,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Friday.
The Haitian government also asked that the US send troops to guard infrastructure it fears is vulnerable to attacks. According to a report from Reuters, the US rebuffed the request. A senior Biden administration official speaking to Reuters on the condition of anonymity said there were “no plans to provide US military assistance at this time.”
The Pentagon acknowledged that Haiti made the request but did not say if it would be fulfilled. “The Haitian government has requested security and investigative assistance, and we remain in regular contact with Haitian officials to discuss how the United States can assist,” the Pentagon said in a statement to CNN.
Details of Moïse’s assassination are emerging. He was killed by a large group of gunmen armed with high-caliber weapons. So far, 17 suspects have been detained, most of whom are foreigners. Two Haitian-Americans were reportedly arrested for the plot, and the remaining 15 are from Colombia. Authorities are searching for eight more suspects, and three have been killed by police.
Colombia confirmed on Friday that at least 13 of the suspects are former members of the Colombian military. Two had been killed, and 11 are in custody. Many former Colombian soldiers end up working as hired guns after their service and have worked as mercenaries in conflicts across the globe.