The president of Haiti, Jovenel Moïse, has been assassinated at his private residence, according to local reports.
There were mass protests this year in a bitter dispute over Moïse’s legitimacy.
Jovonel Moïse was killed at about 1am this morning by a group of assailants, Haitian prime minister Claude Joseph has said. The official statement said the perpetrators were Spanish-speaking but has not released any further details. The prime minister said the first lady, Martine Moïse, was also injured in the attack.
The prime minister’s statement said: “A group of individuals who have not been identified, some of whom were speaking Spanish, attacked the private residence of the President of the Republic and fatally injured the Head of State.”
The President was 53 years old.
Earlier this year bitter unrest erupted in the Cabribbean nation, with protestors demanding the resignation of Mr Moise.
The thousands of demonstrators questioned the president’s legitimacy, as they say his five-year term should have ended on February, 7, 2021 – five years to the day since his predecessor Michel Martelly stepped down.
But Mr Moïse, however, insists he has one more year to serve as he did not take office until 7 February 2017.
The year-long delay was caused by allegations of electoral fraud which eventually saw the result of the 2015 election being annulled and fresh polls being held, which were won by Mr Moïse.