The Pentagon confirmed on Thursday that at least seven of the Colombians arrested over the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse had previously received training from the US military or State Department.
“Thus far, we’ve identified seven individuals who were former members of the Colombian military that had received some sort of … US-funded and provided education and training,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said. “Some of it was under State Department funding and authorities, and some of the training was under DOD, Department of Defense-funded training.”
Kirby said the training for the seven individuals included things like “cadet leadership development, counter-drug operations, noncommissioned officer professional development, small-unit leadership training, human rights training, emergency medical training, some helicopter maintenance training.”
So far, 26 people have been arrested for Moïse’s assassination, including 18 Colombians. At least 13 Colombians are ex-military. Many former Colombian soldiers end up working as hired guns after their service, and Colombians have worked as mercenaries in conflicts across the globe.
Kirby denied that the training had anything to do with Moïse’s killing and said similar programs for foreign militaries would continue. “I know of no plans right now, as a result of what happened in Haiti, for us to reconsider or to change this very valuable, ethical leadership training that we continue to provide,” he said.
There are other US connections to Moïse’s killing. Two Haitian Americans have been arrested over the assassination, and a Florida-based private security company has been linked to the plot. The Drug Enforcement Administration has confirmed that at least one of the suspects arrested by Haitian police previously worked as an informant for the DEA.