Four 'foreign mercenaries who assassinated Haiti President' are shot dead by cops and two others arrested

Four "foreign mercenaries" are dead and two more have been arrested following a bloody gun battle with Haitian police on the streets of Port-au-Prince on Wednesday.

Police chief Leon Charles said his men "blocked" the group from leaving President Jovenel Moïse's compound and have been "battling" them ever since.

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Three officers were taken hostage and subsequently released while an unspecified number of attackers were able to escape, Charles said, adding they would be "killed or arrested".

"Four mercenaries were killed [and] two were intercepted under our control," Charles said, according to the BBC.

"Three policemen who had been taken hostage have been recovered. We blocked [the suspects] en route as they left the scene of the crime. Since then, we have been battling with them."

Another official called the assassins "well trained professional commandos" and "foreign mercenaries" who carried high-powered guns and dressed in black, Fox News writes.

The suspects killed in the gun fight are yet to be identified.

Video footage from the capital on Wednesday showed smoke billowing from several are and sounds of gunfire, though it's unsure if this was related to the police sting.

Interim Prime Minister Clause Joseph said President Moïse was shot dead by a group of "foreigners who spoke English and Spanish" who disguised themselves at US Drug Enforcement Agency agents.

The Prime Minister declared a two-week "stage of siege", imposing martial law, which has seen the Caribbean nation's borders sealed and all flight out of Port-au-Prince halted.

Neighbouring Dominican Republic has mobilised troops along Haiti's land border.

Video has emerged showing gunmen allegedly posing as DEA agents storming the politician's home before he was shot dead in front of his terrified wife.

The dramatic footage shows a series of cars rolling towards Moïse's house as other armed gang members follow on foot.

Just moments later the premier was gunned down in what has been branded a "hateful, inhumane and barbaric act".

The First Lady, Martine Moïse, is fighting for her life after being shot multiple times in the attack.

The 47-year-old has since been flown to Florida and taken to Baptist Hospital in Miami for treatment, where she is in a stable but critical condition, according to NPR.

She received gunshot wounds to her arms and thigh and further injuries to her stomach and hand, WPLG-TV report.

CCTV footage has now emerged showing at least three cars slowly driving towards the President's home, flanked by gunmen.

Four people – reportedly mercenaries – can then be seen moving in formation following the cars while brandishing weapons.

Residents of the neighbourhood reported hearing massive gunfire and seeing men dressed in black running through the streets last night.

The gunmen claimed to be agents with the US Drug Enforcement Administration, according to US media.

In another video, filmed by a resident of the Port-au-Prince neighbourhood, a man with an American accent is heard shouting in English through a megaphone, "DEA operation. Everybody stand down. DEA operation. Everybody back up, stand down.”

But sources told the Miami Herald that the group, one of whom spoke with an American accent, were not with the agency.

One high-ranking Haitian government official told the paper "these were mercenaries".

The President's death will likely throw the country into further chaos as the country becomes more politically polarised and with 59 percent of the population living below the poverty line.

In recent years, the small Caribbean country has been plagued by natural disasters and cycles of violence and economic turmoil.

The Prime Minister of Haiti confirmed the attack and said that a group stormed the private residence of President Moïse and shot him dead.

It has been reported that the president was killed at his home in the capital of Port-au-Prince at 1am.

Prime Minister Joseph's statement said: “A group of individuals who have not been identified, some of whom were speaking Spanish, attacked the private residence of the President of the Republic and fatally injured the Head of State."

The president was 53 years old.

In February, opposition politicians nominated their own president in an effort to drive out Moise whose five-year term had expired.

Joseph Mécène Jean-Louis, 72, a judge, said that he accepted the nomination.

Moïse insisted his term in office ended in February 2022 – a claim accepted by the United States.

In a statement today, the U.S Embassy in Haiti said that it would be closed to due to an "ongoing security situation".

President Joe Biden will be briefed on the "tragic attack", the White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.

Boris Johnson said the assassination of Moïse was an "abhorrent act" and appealed for calm in the country.

Streets were empty this morning after Haitians woke up to the news of the death of their President.

The country's main airport was closed except for humanitarian and dipliomatic flights, the airport's director general said.

On February 7, the day his presidential term was supposed to end, Mr Moïse claimed that a coup had been foiled to overthrow his government and kill him.

A total of 23 people were arrested including a senior police officer.

"I thank my head of security at the palace," he said at the time.

"The goal of these people was to make an attempt on my life. That plan was aborted."

During his time in office, Moïse was accused of corruption and was faced with waves of anti-government protests.

Demonstrations took place and there were clashes with police but residents of the capital, largely stayed at home.

In June, gangs raided multiple police stations in Port-au-Prince as violence between armed groups flared which forced thousands to flee.

Attackers raided six police stations and killed three officers burning their bodies in one attack, local media reported.

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