The assassination of Haiti’s president created a political vacuum and a looming threat for more intense gang violence

A police convoy drives past a wall painted with the president's image down the alley of the entrance to the residence of the president in Port-au-Prince on July 15, 2021, in the wake of Haitian President Jovenel Moise's assassination on July 7, 2021.
A police convoy drives past a wall painted with the president’s image down the alley of the entrance to the residence of the president in Port-au-Prince on July 15, 2021, in the wake of Haitian President Jovenel Moise’s assassination on July 7, 2021. VALERIE BAERISWYL/AFP via Getty Images
  • The UN is concerned the assassination of Haiti’s president will cause a humanitarian crisis.
  • President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated on July 7 in his private home in Port-au-Prince.
  • Gang leader Jimmy Cherizier called on supporters to get justice for Moïse’s death.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

After the assassination of Haiti’s President Jovenel Moïse, the country is facing a political vacuum and the threat of a rise in gang violence.

Moïse was killed on July 7 at his private home in Port-au-Prince.

The Core Group, diplomats from countries like Germany, Canada, and the United States, alongside representatives from the United Nations, issued a statement on Saturday that called for “a consensual and inclusive government” to be created in Haiti but made no mention of current interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph.

Politico reported that Joseph is being backed by police and the military.

The statement also said: “To this end, it strongly encourages the designated Prime Minister Ariel Henry to continue the mission entrusted to him to form such a government.”

Joseph had been serving as interim prime minister since April, but two days before his death Moïse selected Henry to be the new prime minister.

The statement comes as first lady Martine Moïse was released from a Miami hospital and returned to Haiti, wearing a bulletproof vest. Her return was a surprise to many, but an official said she returned ahead of Moïse’s funeral. She was with the president and was injured when he was killed.

It’s still unclear who orchestrated the assassination but Haitian police previously said it was a group of 26 Colombians and two Haitian Americans that were behind the attack. CNN reported that police also questioned Dimitri Herard, Moïse’s chief of security, and took him into custody last week.

The United Nations is concerned the assassination could add to already rising gang violence

In a statement, UNICEF said gang violence in and around Port-au-Prince has resulted in more than 15,000 women and children fleeing, mostly in the past month.

“This is the worst humanitarian crisis the country has faced over the past few years, and it’s deteriorating week after week,” Bruno Maes, UNICEF representative in Haiti, said.

The Associated Press reported that gangs in Haiti are partly funded by powerful politicians.

In the aftermath of the president’s assassination, Jimmy Cherizier, a leader of a coalition of gangs called the G9, called on followers to get justice for Moïse’s killing, The Wall Street Journal reported.

“We are ready for war,” Cherizier, also known as “Barbecue,” said in a Youtube video “We are only warming up.”

The AP reported that Cherizier had denounced the practice of powerful “oligarchs” funding gangs, but he himself has benefitted from the practice and is linked to several massacres. He’s believed to be an ally of Moïse’s party and criticized his killing as “cowardly,” the AP reported.

He also sent a warning to those trying to claim power: “We invite all those who are trying to take advantage of this coup to think carefully, to consider whether they have in their hands the appropriate solution to the country’s problems,” he said.

Cherizier’s coalition is one of 30 gangs believed to control almost half of Port-au-Prince.

The violence has led to international groups canceling much-needed humanitarian aid for fear of getting stuck in the crossfire.

In several recent reports, the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said it was concerned about growing food and fuel prices, violence, and a rise in COVID-19 cases in the country.