The widow of slain Haitian President Jovenel Moise has accused shadowy enemies of organising his assassination to stop democratic change, as a struggle for power intensified in the Caribbean nation.
Haiti has been reeling since Moise was gunned down early on Wednesday at his home in Port-au-Prince. Haitian authorities said foreign, trained assassins comprised of 26 Colombians and two Haitian Americans carried out the assassination.
Martine Moise, who was also wounded in the attack, said her husband was targeted for political reasons.
"You know who the president was fighting against," she said in a recording released on Twitter, without naming anybody.
"They sent mercenaries to kill the president at his home with members of his family because of roads, water, electricity and referendum as well as elections at the end of the year so that there is no transition in the country."
"The mercenaries who assassinated the president are currently behind bars," she added, "but other mercenaries currently want to kill his dream, his vision, his ideology".
The late president, who spoke of dark forces at play behind years of unrest - rival politicians and oligarchs angry about his attempts to clean up government contracts and politics - had proposed a referendum to change Haiti's constitution.
The referendum, scheduled for September 26 along with presidential and legislative elections, could abolish the prime minister's position, reshape the legislative branch and strengthen the presidency.
Moise's killing has clouded those plans and led to political disarray in Haiti's government, led by Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph, who has appealed for troops from the United States and the United Nations.
The United States said it had no plans to provide Haiti with military assistance, while the request to the UN would need authorisation from its Security Council.
On Friday, a group of lawmakers announced they had recognised Joseph Lambert, the head of Haiti's dismantled Senate, as provisional president in a direct challenge to the interim government's authority.
They also recognised as prime minister Ariel Henry, whom Moise had selected to replace Joseph a day before he was killed but who had not been sworn in.
Haitian officials have not given a motive for the assassination or explained how the killers got past Moise's security detail.
Taking power in 2017, Moise's administration was beset by mass protests, first over corruption allegations and his economic record, then over his increasing grip on power.
Seventeen of the men suspected of involvement in his assassination were captured after a gun battle with Haitian authorities in a hillside suburb of Port-au-Prince, while three were killed and eight are still at large, police say.
Colombian media reports suggested the Colombian suspects were hired to work as security for politicians in Haiti, among them, Moise.
Colombian police declined to specify on Saturday who hired the men, saying the matter is still under investigation. Officials have said the soldiers were hired by four companies, without naming them.
Reuters with AP
Australian Associated Press