Port-au-Prince, Jul 15 (EFE).- Haiti’s National Police said Thursday that they have seen nothing connecting acting Prime Minister Claude Joseph to last week’s assassination of President Jovenel Moise.
“The evidence and information gathered in the framework of the investigation reveal no link with prime minister and the suspects have made no revelation to that effect,” the force said in a statement.
Police responded to a report by Colombian media outlet Caracol Noticias that the FBI was looking into the possible involvement of Joseph in the July 7 slaying.
The National Police vowed to remain “on guard against all diversionary maneuvers” at it presses forward with the probe.
Eighteen of the 23 suspects in custody are Colombians, while the other five are dual nationals of Haiti and the United States.
Three other Colombians died in gunfights with police.
Officials in Port-au-Prince say that the plot was hatched by Christian Emmanuel Sanon, a 62-year-old evangelical pastor and physician living in South Florida.
Sanon, a complete unknown in Haitian politics, said in a YouTube video that he aspired to lead the country. But questions have arisen about how the alleged mastermind, who declared bankruptcy in the US, could have afforded to hire mercenaries to kill Moise.
Colombian authorities, who are assisting Haiti in the investigation, said Thursday that three additional citizens of the Andean nation suspected of involvement in the crime were being sought.
The head of Colombia’s national police, Gen. Jorge Luis Vargas, confirmed that former police pilot Ronald Ramirez was one of the newly identified suspects.
At a press conference in Bogota, Vargas said that Colombian national Jonathan Rivera appeared to have taken part in meetings in Miami to plan what was initially presented as an operation to arrest Moise.
Colombian media outlets have reported that Jonathan Rivera recruited his brother, retired army Capt. German Rivera – now in custody in Haiti – and retired Sgt. Duberney Capador, who was killed by Haitian police.
In a related development, the Pentagon acknowledged Thursday that some of the Colombian suspects in the Moise assassination received training from the United States Armed Forces during their time in Colombia’s military.
“A review of our training databases indicates that a small number of the Colombian individuals detained as part of this investigation had participated in past US military training and education programs, while serving as active members of the Colombian Military Forces,” spokesman Lt. Col. Ken Hoffman said in an email to Efe.
At least 13 of the 18 Colombians in custody in Port-au-Prince are veterans of their country’s armed forces. EFE