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Haitian President Jovenel Moïse will be laid to rest on July 23 in a state funeral, the government said Friday.
Moïse’s funeral will take place in the city of Cap-Haïtien in the northern part of the country. The historic city is both close to where the late president was born and where he began his career as an entrepreneur. It is also where the Republic of Haiti was born after former slaves defeated their French colonizers in the Battle of Vertières, the last major battle of the Haitian Revolution on Nov. 18, 1803. Haiti declared itself free on Jan. 1, 1804.
Moïse was assassinated in the middle of the night on July 7. Close to two dozen people, most of them Colombian, have been arrested in connection with the slaying. The investigation is ongoing, Haiti police said during a press conference Friday, when they announced that a fifth police official had been detained in isolation in connection with the probe. The officer was not named.
Haiti National Police Chief Léon Charles said 24 of the police officers assigned to the president’s security detail have been invited by internal affairs for questioning, “and 24 of them have been sanctioned for now.” Charles did not specify what kind of reprimand the officers have received, but travel restrictions have been issued against a number of them. Charles also declined to say how many of the 24 were actually on duty at the time of the president’s death.
“Twenty-four of them were supposed to work,” Charles said. “Some of them were there.”
A source familiar with the investigation previously told the Miami Herald that there were eight guards who were no-shows that night.
Charles added that “five more top heads of the different units of the palace guards have been sanctioned, and they are now in custody.”
Frédéric Leconte, the head of the judicial police, said that the assassination occurred sometime between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m.
Moïse’s wife, Martine Moïse, was wounded in the attack. She was flown to Miami and remains hospitalized at Jackson Health System’s Ryder Trauma Center.
Martine Moïse will take part in the funeral, acting Prime Minister Claude Joseph said. The event, the government noted, will be a three-day affair beginning July 21. Books of condolences, they said, are now available at Haitian embassies and consulates for the public to sign.
On Friday afternoon, thousands of Haitians, dressed in white t-shirts took to the streets of Port-de-Paix, in the northwest, and Trou-du-Nord, in the northeast, to demand demand justice for the slain president. They waved tree branches and waved signs in Creole saying his death will not in vain and down with the USA, while demanding the arrest of members of his security detail.