Two Haitian Americans from South Florida are among seventeen suspects that have been detained in Haiti so far in connection with the stunning assassination of Haiti’s president that jolted the Caribbean country and fueled further political chaos, as authorities continued the manhunt for those involved in the assassination, Nouvelliste newspaper reports.
James Solages, 35, and Joseph Vincent, 55, have been identified by the Haitian police as the two American citizens involved in the overnight attack during which President Jovenel Moise was shot dead in his private residence and his wife Martine Moïse was injured.
According to Reuters, the US State Department could not confirm whether American citizens had been arrested, with spokesman Ned Price saying noting the probe is being led by Haitian authorities, while the Department of Justice and FBI did not respond to requests for comment.
The Haitian police have reportedly identified 28 suspected murderers, most of them Colombian citizens, six of which are former members of Colombian army, as confirmed by Colombia’s government. The chief of Haitian Police, Leon Charles told reporters that several suspects were brought into custody, while others were killed in firefights with authorities.
Charles said that 15 Colombians and the two Americans of Haitian origin have been arrested, three Colombians have been killed while eight other mercenaries are on the loose, and added that police had recovered weapons and materials used by the assailants.
Justice of the Peace Clement Noel told the Nouvelliste that the two arrested Americans claimed they were translators and said that Moise was not supposed to be eliminated.
According to Miami Herald, Solages, who lives in Fort Lauderdale but is originally from Haiti, claims to be an engineer, a philanthropist and certified diplomatic agent who once worked as a chief body guard for the Canadian embassy in Haiti, according to a website for a charity he set up in Florida in 2019.
Canada’s foreign relation department released a statement confirming, without identifying him by name, that one of the detained men had been briefly employed as a reserve bodyguard at its embassy by a private contractor.
Solages allegedly claimed to have found out about the job on the internet and arrived in Haiti a month ago, but had believed he was to work as an interpreter for the mostly foreign group while the other alleged assassins did so three months ago.
The second man arrested in the assassination a, Joseph Vincent, 55, is from the Miami area but is also originally from Haiti