Haitian prime minister survives weekend assassination attempt, his office says

PORT-AU-PRINCE – Gunmen tried unsuccessfully to assassinate Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry during an event to commemorate the independence of the Caribbean country, its office said in a statement.

Henry’s office said Monday that “bandits and terrorists” tried to shoot the prime minister in a church in the northern city of Gonaives where the 218th independence anniversary ceremony was taking place.

Video broadcast on social media showed Henry and his entourage climbing to their vehicles when an armed group began shooting outside the cathedral in Gonaives.

Haitian media pointed to possible gang involvement in the shootings, in which one person was killed and two others injured.

Since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in July, the gang’s influence in parts of Haiti has increased.

Police, describing Saturday’s attack as the work of “armed groups”, were unable to immediately confirm the victims. Prior to the incident, a local gang boss had threatened Henry in local media.

Arrest warrants have been issued against the suspects who shot at Henry’s convoy, the Prime Minister’s office said.

The attack has rekindled concerns about the safety of officials in Haiti since the Moïse assassination.

Henry, whose legitimacy is increasingly being questioned, was sworn in as prime minister just two weeks after Moises was murdered by suspected mercenaries. The country has not yet set a date for the election of Moise’s successor.

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