PORT-AU-PRINCE, July 10 (DT) - Haiti has asked Washington and the UN to send troops to help it secure its ports, airport and other strategic sites after the assassination of President Jovenel Moise, a government minister said Friday.
The United States has already said it will send FBI and other agents to Port-au-Prince, two days after Moise was brutally killed by gunmen in his home, opening up a power vacuum in the impoverished and crisis-hit Caribbean nation.
The US State Department and Pentagon both confirmed receiving a request for "security and investigative assistance" and said officials remain in contact with Port-au-Prince, but did not specify whether military troops would be deployed.
Washington had signaled its willingness to help the Haitian investigation, and White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki added Friday that senior FBI and other officials would be heading to the Caribbean as soon as possible.
Amid the uncertainty, two men are now vying to lead the country of 11 million people, more than half of whom are under age 20. There is no working parliament.
People scrambled to stock up on basic necessities at supermarkets and lined up at gas stations to buy propane used for cooking in anticipation of more instability.
"I'm prioritizing everything that can last for many days."
The city's airport, shuttered in the wake of the attack, appeared to have reopened, according to Flightradar data.
But as the shock of the killing wore off, many were demanding answers.
"We need to know who is behind this, their names, their backgrounds so that justice can be served," he added.
Senior police officers, directly responsible for Moise's security, are in the hot seat and have been summoned to appear before the courts.
"The president of the Republic, Jovenel Moise, was assassinated by his security agents," former Haitian senator Steven Benoit said on Magik9 radio Friday.
- Political chaos -
Some of the suspects were arrested after breaking into the Taiwanese embassy, Taipei confirmed. Several were paraded before the media on Thursday.
Colombia on Friday said 17 Colombian ex-soldiers were thought to have been involved. President Ivan Duque has told Haitian officials Bogota will collaborate in the investigation.
Haiti was already in the midst of in an institutional crisis: Moise had not organized an election since he came to power in early 2017 and the country has had no parliament since January 2020. Moise had been ruling by decree.
Hours after the assassination, Henry's predecessor Claude Joseph said he was in charge.