Colombia probing Haitian security chief’s travel prior to Moise’s killing
Bogota, Jul 12 (EFE).- Colombian officials assisting with the probe of last week’s assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise confirmed Monday that the slain leader’s security chief made several trips to the Andean nation and other Latin American countries this year and that the purpose of that travel is under investigation.
“We became aware through Interpol’s work team in Colombia that security chief Dimitri Herard, head of the general security unit of Haiti’s National Palace, apparently made trips to Ecuador, Panama and the Dominican Republic using Colombia as a transit (country),” the director of Colombia’s National Police, Gen. Jorge Luis Vargas, said at a press conference.
He added that authorities are trying to determine “what activities Herard may have been carrying out during these trips in Colombian territory,” the homeland of more than a score of retired soldiers allegedly involved in Moise’s assassination.
Colombia is now seeking answers from those three countries, according to Vargas.
Moise was killed in the wee hours of July 7 during an attack on his residence in Port-au-Prince’s Pelerin 5 neighborhood that also seriously wounded first lady Martine Moise, who is receiving medical treatment in the United States.
All of Herard’s trips took place this year, the first of them on Jan. 19 when he traveled from the Dominican Republic to Bogota and then on to Ecuador the following day, Vargas said.
He made the return trip on Feb. 1 via the same route and then traveled once again between the Dominican Republic and Ecuador – with stopovers in Bogota – between May 22 and May 29, the Colombian general said in detailing some of these movements.
Vargas clarified that Haitian authorities are leading the investigation and that Colombia is merely cooperating with that probe.
The director of Colombia’s National Police confirmed that three former Colombian soldiers suspected of involvement in the assassination were killed and 18 were arrested after Moise was killed. Five others remain at large.
The investigation also has extended to the Miami-based company CTU Security, since 19 plane tickets purchased using a credit card issued in the name of that firm were used by retired Colombian soldiers to travel to the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti.
CTU Security’s website says it sells security equipment and offers security and vigilance services for people and organizations ranging from companies to schools, as well as private investigation services and dog protection training and services.
“We managed to establish here in Colombia some communication links of Mr. German Rivera Garcia with Mr. Duberney Capador and with the Miami-based company CTU Security,” Vargas said.
Rivera Garcia is a Colombian retired army captain who was among those arrested by Haiti’s National Police, while Capador left the army with the rank of first vice sergeant and is one of three former Colombian soldiers who died in Haiti in shootouts with police.
A suspected mastermind of the assassination, 63-year-old Christian Emmanuel Sanon, also was arrested in Haiti on Sunday.
Sanon, a doctor who had been living in the state of Florida and traveled to Haiti last month for alleged political reasons, is suspected of hiring more than two dozen Colombian commandos through CTU Security.
They were initially contracted to provide private security, the director of Haiti’s National Police, Leon Charles, told reporters on Sunday.
But that official said their mission was later changed to target Moise instead. EFE