Haitian police have arrested a former Haitian justice ministry official suspected of ordering the assassination of President Jovenel Moise, a police spokesman told Reuters news agency yesterday.
Joseph Felix Badio was nabbed by police as he was driving out of a supermarket car park in the capital, Port-au-Prince.
Badio is accused by investigators of ordering the hitmen who carried out the attack in July 2021.
Local media in Haiti said Mr Badio had been fired from his post as an anti-corruption official in the justice ministry a few months before the assassination, after he was allegedly bribed to release a prisoner.
Some of the hitmen arrested hours after the killing also alleged that Mr Badio, 60, had given them their orders.
Mr Moise was murdered in his bedroom by Colombian mercenaries in 2021. Most have since been arrested or killed.
His death threw Haiti into a prolonged political crisis and led to unprecedented levels of lawlessness.
Within months, criminal gangs extended their control over the capital, including its infrastructure and main fuel port.
Mr Badio is accused of ordering hitmen to carry out the attack. He is charged with murder, attempted murder and armed robbery.
Local media said Mr Badio had been fired from his post as an anti-corruption official in the justice ministry a few months before the assassination, after he was allegedly bribed to release a prisoner.
Some of the hitmen arrested hours after the killing alleged that Mr Badio, 60, had given them their orders.
Others implicated in the case have been convicted in the US. They include John Joel Joseph, a former Haitian senator, and Haitian-Chilean businessman Rodolphe Jaar.
The US has also accused Venezuelan-American Antonio Intriago, the owner of Florida-based CTU Security, of hiring the hitmen. He faces a number of charges including conspiracy to kill or kidnap.
Haiti’s unelected government has struggled to provide even basic services since Mr Moise’s death.
According to a UN report this week, gangs have taken control of much of the capital, running schools and clinics but also terrorising the population and fighting turf wars.
Thousands of Haitians have fled their homes in Port-au-Prince amid the soaring violence, and thousands have already died this year.
The UN recently ratified deploying an international force to support Haiti’s police, but few countries have committed personnel and it has yet to materialise. The matter is now subject to the decision of a court in Kenya, which will decide if the constitution of that country allows its police to be used overseas,
Sources: BBC, ABC, VOA.