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President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in his private residence early Wednesday by a “a group of individuals who have not been identified, some of whom were speaking Spanish,” interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph said in a statement Wednesday morning. Moïse’s wife, first lady Martine Moïse, was also shot and has been hospitalized in this “hateful, inhumane and barbaric act,” he added. “All measures have been taken to ensure the continuity of the state and to protect the nation. Democracy and the republic will win out.” Joseph said he is now in charge of the country, Agence France-Presse reports.
Moïse, president since 2017, has faced years of protests and calls for his resignation, including during massive anti-government protests earlier this year. Among the points of dispute was whether his five-year term ended this year, as the opposition argued, or in 2022, as Moïse claimed. He also said earlier this year that his security agencies had thwarted an assassination attempt on him at the presidential palace.