The United States on Friday rebuffed Haiti’s request for troops to help secure key infrastructure after the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse by suspected foreign mercenaries, even as it pledged to help with the investigation.
Haitian Elections Minister Mathias Pierre said a request for U.S. security assistance was raised in a conversation between interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday.
Pierre added that Haiti made a request for forces to the United Nations Security Council. However, a senior U.S. administration official said there were “no plans to provide U.S. military assistance at this time.”
In a letter to the U.S. embassy in Haiti, Joseph requested the dispatch of troops to support the national police in reestablishing security and protecting key infrastructure across the country following Moïse’s assassination. In addition, a similar letter was sent to the U.N. office in Haiti.
“We were in a situation where we believed that infrastructure of the country – the port, airport, and energy infrastructure – might be a target,” Pierre told Reuters.
He stated that another aim of the request for security reinforcements would be to make it possible to go ahead with scheduled presidential and legislative elections on Sept.
“The dispatch of troops under any circumstances would be a matter for the (15-member) Security Council to decide,” Jose Luis Diaz, spokesman for the U.N. Department of Political and Peace building Affairs, said.
Authorities mentioned that an armed group of “professional killers,” consisting of more than two dozen people, including two US citizens and retired members of the Colombian military are among the assassins of Moïse.
The United States and Colombia affirmed that they would send law enforcement and intelligence officials to assist Haiti after a number of their nationals were arrested for Moïse’s murder.
Meanwhile, the killing of the president by a squad of gunmen in the early hours of Wednesday morning at his home in Port-au-Prince pitched Haiti deeper into a political crisis that may worsen growing hunger, gang violence, and a COVID-19 outbreak.