Haiti's president Jovenel Moïse begged for help prior to assassination
‘My life is in danger, come save me’: Haiti’s president Jovenel Moïse made desperate pleas to a police commissioner and officer for 10 minutes to help ‘mobilize people’ before he was assassinated
- Jovenel Moïse, 53, was shot dead in his bedroom when assassins armed with assault rifles stormed his home in Port-au-Prince in Haiti on July 7
- Investigators are still trying to determine how a group of Colombian mercenaries were able to get past the three police checkpoints
- Questions are also mounting as to why it took so long for authorities to respond after the President pleaded for help in multiple phone calls before his death
- Three unnamed people who received calls from inside Moïse’s home in the moments before the assassination say he begged for police to ‘mobilize people’
- Moïse first called for reinforcement 1.34am when he called a police commissioner
- When his security detail failed to show up, Moïse then called a National Police officer saying: ‘My life is in danger. Come quick’
- Dimitri Hérard, who was head of security for the President, is among those who have been taken into custody over the attack
- So far 18 of the 26 Colombians suspected of carrying out the killing have also been detained. Three Colombians were killed and five are at large
Haiti’s President Jovenel Moïse made desperate pleas for 10 minutes to a police commissioner and another officer to get them to mobilize law enforcement and save his life prior to him being assassinated in his home, a new report says.
The 53-year-old President was shot dead in his bedroom when assassins armed with assault rifles stormed his home in the hills above Port-au-Prince in Haiti in the early hours of July 7.
Almost two weeks after his death, investigators are still trying to determine how a group of Colombian mercenaries responsible for the killing were able to get past the three police checkpoints and security layers that lead to Moïse’s house, which is in a walled-off compound.
Now, questions are also mounting as to why it took so long for authorities to respond after the President pleaded for help in multiple phone calls before his death.
Three unnamed people who received calls from inside Moïse’s home in the moments before the assassination have told the Miami Herald that the President had begged for police to ‘mobilize people’.
Jovenel Moïse, 53, was shot dead in his bedroom when assassins armed with assault rifles stormed his home in the hills above Port-au-Prince in Haiti in the early hours of July 7
Moïse first called for reinforcement 1.34am when he called a police commissioner, according to the sources.
‘They are shooting by the house. Mobilize people,’ the President told the commissioner.
When his security detail failed to show up, Moïse then called a National Police officer, asking: ‘Where are you? I need your assistance, now. My life is in danger. Come quick; come save my life,’ Moïse told the officer.
The officer told the news outlet that he heard the sound of an assault rifle before the phone call ended. He immediately deployed a three-car convoy to the President’s home.
The police commissioner who received the initial phone call from Moïse said he made four phone calls over a 14-minute stretch as he made his way to the President’s home.
The first call he made at 1.35am was to Dimitri Hérard, who was head of security for the President. Hérard told him he was deploying help.
The commissioner said he then called a supervisor for the security team on duty at 1.38am but did not receive an answer.
He called the commander of a specialized tactical unit called Counter Assault Team at 1.47am and the Haiti Police chief Léon Charles at 1.50am.
Charles had already deployed a convoy to the President’s home, according to the sources.
The sources told the Miami Herald that Moïse was still alive at 1.45am, according to phone logs.
When the officer who received a call from Moïse arrived with his convoy, he said Hérard was standing in the middle of the road with several palace guards.
He said Hérard and the guards drew their weapons, which is standard practice, but lowered them when they realized they were officers.
Dimitri Hérard, Moïse’s head of security, is among the five senior National Police officers who have been detained in connection with the assassination. Accounts from those who spoke to Moïse have led to questions about what Hérard did and who he contacted the night of the assassination
Martine Moise, the widow of Haiti’s assassinated president Jovenel Moise, returned to Haiti on Sunday after being treated in a Miami hospital. She was shot multiple times when her husband was killed
Hérard is in charged of the the first security layer leading to the President’s home.
The second is manned by the Counter Assault Team and the third, which is closest to the President, is the Presidential Security Unit.
After encountering Hérard, the officer and several others then drove up towards the President’s home but were stopped by a vehicle with several armed Haitian national police officers allegedly inside.
The officer said he then saw a group of heavily armed men – since identified as the Colombians – wearing white t-shirts carrying assault rifles and they shouted: ‘DEA operation, get back.’
The group started advancing on them and Hérard told his officers to get back, according to the officer who spoke to the President.
After the Colombians retreated, an officer was finally able to go inside the President’s home where he found his body slumped in his bedroom.
Moïse’s wife was found shot in a hallway. The couple’s two children were uninjured and were helping their mother when officers arrived.
The accounts from those who spoke to Moïse have led to questions about what Hérard did and who he contacted the night of the assassination.
It has also prompted questions over what happened to the President’s security team.
There were 24 officers assigned to Moïse’s security detail but police have so far refused to say how many were on duty the night of the assassination.
None of Moïse’s security detail were shot or injured during the ordeal.
Footage circulating online purportedly taken by a neighbour of the president shows men with rifles arriving outside the property
Security forces inspect at the site after an attack at the residence of Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on July 7
The multi-national investigation, which involves the FBI, has seen the arrest of 18 Colombians and two Haitian Americans believed to be involved in the attack. Three Colombian mercenaries have been killed and five remain on the run.
Hérard, Moïse’s head of security, is among the five senior National Police officers who have been detained in connection with the assassination.
More than 20 members of the President’s security detail have also been sanctioned and are still being interrogated.
There is still no clear indication yet of who ordered the killing and why.
Haitian authorities believe central figures and suspects in the investigation met in Florida and the Dominican Republic in the months before the assassination to discuss how they could rebuild the country after Moïse was out of power, the New York Times reports.
The Pentagon has since admitted some of the Colombians were once trained by the US military.
Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Ken Hoffman confirmed Thursday a ‘small number’ of the suspects had participated in US military training and education programs while serving in the Colombian military.
Officials have not revealed how many ex-soldiers were trained by the US, their identities or what the training involved.
The latest suspects identified in the sweeping investigation included a former Haitian senator, a fired government official and an informant for the US government.
Late last week, the Haitian National Police announced the arrest of two more people in connection with the assassination: Gilbert Dragon, a former police superintendent, and Reynaldo Corvington, who is accused of providing shelter to the assassins.
Suspects in the assassination of Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise are shown to the media in Port-au-Prince, Haiti last week
Weaponry, mobile phones, passports and other items are being shown to the media along with suspects in the assassination
Those arrests come just three days after Christian Emmanuel Sanon, 63, who is accused of organizing the assassination plot, was taken into custody.
Police said Sanon, who was ties to Florida, entered the country last month on a private plane ‘with the intention of taking the Haitian presidency’.
Sanon allegedly recruited the Miami-based CTU Security, which is registered in Florida as the Counter Terrorist Unit Federal Academy LCC.
CTU Security, which is owned by Venezuelan businessman Antonio Intriago, has been accused of recruiting the Colombians that police believe are behind the attack.
Léon Charles, head of the Haiti’s National Police, last week accused Intriago of traveling to Haiti numerous times as part of the assassination plot and of signing a contract while there, but provided no other details and offered no evidence.
‘The investigation is very advanced,’ Charles said.
Charles has said that CTU Security used its company credit card to buy 19 plane tickets from Bogota to Santo Domingo for the Colombian suspects allegedly involved in the killing.
One of the Colombians who was killed, Duberney Capador, photographed himself wearing a black CTU Security polo shirt.
Nelson Romero Velasquez, an ex-soldier and attorney who is advising 16 families of the Colombians held in Haiti, said last Wednesday that the men all served in the Colombian military’s elite special forces and could operate without being detected, if they had desired.
He said their behavior made it clear they did not go to Haiti to assassinate the president.
A Miami security professional believes Intriago was too eager to take the job and did not push to learn details, leaving his contractors in the lurch.
Intriago, who immigrated from Venezuela over a decade ago and participated in activities in Miami opposing the leftist regime in his homeland, did not respond to multiple requests for an interview.
He likes to be around powerful people and has posted photos on social media showing himself with them, including Colombian President Ivan Duque.
Duque’s office on Monday disavowed any knowledge of Intriago, saying Duque was in Miami while campaigning for the presidency in February 2018. He posed for photographs with some of those in attendance, but Duque did not have any meeting or any ties with Intriago, the Colombian president’s office said.
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