Haitian arrested as alleged tie to assassination masterminds

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Haitian arrested as alleged tie to assassination masterminds

Port-Au-Prince (Haiti), July 12

The head of Haiti’s national police announced on Sunday that officers arrested a Haitian man accused of flying into the country on a private jet and working with the masterminds and alleged assassins behind the killing of President Jovenel Moïse.

Police Chief Léon Charles identified the suspect as Christian Emmanuel Sanon, without giving any personal information about him, though it appears he has been living in Florida. The chief also gave no information on the purported masterminds.

Charles said the alleged killers were protecting Sanon as the supposed president of Haiti, adding that officers found several items at

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his house, including a hat emblazoned with the logo of the US Drug Enforcement Administration, 20 boxes of bullets, gun parts, four automobile licence plates from the Dominican Republic, two cars and correspondence with unidentified people.

“We continue to make strides,” Charles said of police efforts to solve the brazen attack early on Wednesday at Moïse’s private home that killed the president and seriously wounded his wife, Martine Moïse, who was flown to Miami and remains hospitalised.

Charles said a total of 26 Colombians are suspected in the killing of the president. Eighteen of them have been arrested, along with three Haitians. He said five of the suspects are still at large and at least three have been killed.

“They are dangerous individuals,” he said. “I’m talking commando, specialised commando.” The chief said police are working with high-ranking Colombian officials to identify details of the alleged plot, including when the suspects left Colombia and who paid for their tickets.

Charles said Sanon was in contact with a firm that provides security for politicians and recruited the suspects, adding that the suspect flew into Haiti with them in early June. The men’s initial mission was to protect Sanon, but they later received a new one: arrest the president, the chief said.

“The operation started from there,” he said, adding that an additional 22 suspects joined the group and that contact was made with Haitian citizens.

Charles said that after Moïse was killed, one of the suspects phoned Sanon, who then got in touch with two people believed to be the intellectual authors of the plot. He did not identify the masterminds or say if police knew who they are.

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The chief said Haitian authorities obtained the information from interrogations and other parts of the investigation.

It was not immediately clear if Sanon had an attorney.

Sanon has lived in Florida, in Broward County and in Hillsborough County on the Gulf Coast. Records show he has also lived in Kansas City, Missouri. He filed for bankruptcy in 2013 and identifies himself as a doctor in a video on YouTube titled ‘Leadership for Haiti’.

In the video, he denounces the leaders of Haiti as corrupt, accusing them of stripping the country of its resources, saying that “they don’t care about the country, they don’t care about the people.”  

He claims Haiti has uranium, oil and other resources that have been taken by government officials. “With me in power, you are going to have to tell me: ‘What are you doing with my uranium? What are you doing with the oil that we have in the country? What are you going to do with the gold?’”

He said: “This is a country with resources. Nine million people can’t be in poverty when we have so much resources in the country. It’s impossible. … The world has to stop doing what they are doing right now. We can’t take it anymore. We need new leadership that will change the way of life.”

Sanon has posted little on Twitter but has expressed an interest in Haitian politics. In September 2010, he tweeted: “Just completed a successful conference in Port-Au-Prince. Many people from the opposition attended.” A month later, he wrote: “Back to Haiti for an important meeting regarding the election. Pray for me for protection and wisdom.”  

The announcement of Sanon’s arrest was made hours after hundreds of Haitians sought solace in prayer at early Sunday church services as a political power struggle threatened to further destabilise their fragile country. AP

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