Haiti arrests senior security official in presidential assassination investigation

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) – Haitian authorities arrested a senior official who served as general security coordinator when President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated, his lawyer told The Associated Press on Monday.

Jean Laguel Civil joins more than two dozen suspects arrested by the Haitian National Police as the investigation continues into the July 7 attack at Moïse’s private home.

Civil’s lawyer, Reynold Georges, called his client’s arrest politically motivated. It was not immediately clear if Civil had been charged with anything.

The arrest comes as more than 1,000 protesters gathered around one of Haiti’s most notorious gang leaders to commemorate Moses. The crowd was dressed mostly in white as they cheered on Jimmy Cherizier, a former police officer who now heads the “G9”, a federation of nine gangs that authorities have blamed for a spike in violence and kidnappings in recent months. .

“Everyone must wait for my order before responding to the murder of Jovenel Moïse,” said Cherizier, who calls himself “Barbecue” and who, according to the police, is at the origin of several recent massacres which have targeted civilians. living in communities run by other gangs. .

He wore a white suit and black tie as he addressed the crowd in the seaside slum of La Saline, in the capital Port-au-Prince. A nearby truck was playing music as Cherizier knelt in front of a large portrait of Moses and began to light candles.

“No justice, no peace!” he said.

Earlier, the crowd sang as they circled around a bonfire and threw salt on it as part of a ceremony honoring Moses. Many had their faces covered so as not to be identified.

Moïse was shot several times in an attack on July 7 in which his wife was seriously injured. At least 26 people were arrested, including 18 former Colombian soldiers. Police are still looking for various suspects, including a former rebel leader and a former Haitian senator. On Monday, they identified another suspect: Judge Windelle Coq Thelot of the Superior Court of Haiti.

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