Haiti's national police have reportedly arrested an alleged mastermind behind the murder of President Jovenel Moïse. It was a 63-year-old Haitian doctor who lives in the US state of Florida, as interim police chief Léon Charles said in a press briefing on Sunday. The man recently came to Haiti on a private plane to take over the presidency. High-ranking officials from the USA, who are supposed to help with the investigation, met with Charles on Sunday in Haiti and with the protagonists of the simmering power struggle there.

The doctor was accused of hiring the Colombian mercenaries suspected of being an assassin through a Venezuelan private security company based in Florida, the police said.

He was the first they called after the attack.

Evidence was found in his apartment.

The man had contact with two other backers.

He is the third US resident of Haitian descent, and the 21st man overall, to be arrested as a suspect following the murder.

The other two also reportedly lived in Florida, which is just 1,000 kilometers from Haiti.

Unclear power relations

The 53-year-old head of state Moïse was attacked and shot in his residence on Wednesday night. His wife was seriously injured. According to the police, 26 Colombians and two Americans of Haitian origin carried out the murder. They pretended to be agents of the US anti-drug agency DEA. Three of the Colombians were killed, the remaining five were still wanted. The background to the act has so far remained unclear. Among other things, there was speculation that the president's guards apparently did not offer any resistance.

Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph has led the government since the murder, although Moïse appointed neurosurgeon and ex-interior minister Ariel Henry as his successor on Monday.

Henry said in an interview that from his point of view he was the real interim prime minister.

The Senate elected its President, Joseph Lambert, who supports Henry, as interim head of state on Friday.

However, the parliament has not had a quorum since early 2020 after an election was canceled and the terms of most MPs expired.

The chairman of the Supreme Court died a few weeks ago of the consequences of Covid-19.

Presidential and parliamentary elections are planned for September 26th.

The international community has so far recognized Joseph, who is also foreign minister, as a point of contact.

His government asked the ex-occupying power USA to send troops to ensure security and protect infrastructure.

The request will be examined, said Pentagon spokesman John Kirby.

The focus is currently on helping with the investigation, he told Fox News.

High-ranking officials from the US Federal Police FBI and the Department of Homeland Security were sent to Haiti for this purpose.

According to Lambert, they also met with him on Sunday.

He wrote on Twitter that his election as interim president was honored and the next steps discussed.

Shortly thereafter, Lambert tweeted that he was outraged: Joseph had slandered and insulted his rival Henry in front of the US delegation.

The White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki had also announced an imminent delivery of a vaccine against the coronavirus - something that is completely lacking in Haiti, the poorest country on the American continent.

The number of cases there has recently increased significantly.

Protests against Moïse, who had been in office since 2017, had recently paralyzed Haiti again and again.

He was accused of corruption, links to brutal gangs and autocratic tendencies.

In February opposition parties appointed a transitional president because, in their opinion, Moïse's term of office had expired.

More recently, bloody fighting between gangs for control of parts of the capital has displaced more than 14,000 people.

Notorious gang leader and ex-police officer Jimmy “Barbecue” Cherizier, who was alleged to have ties to Moïse, said in a video released on Saturday that his killing was a national and international conspiracy against the Haitian people. He calls on all gangs to mobilize.

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