TWO alleged US "mercenaries" were paraded by Haitian cops in front of the media after they were arrested over the assassination of president Jovenel Moïse while furious locals torched cars in anger.
James Solages, 35, Joseph Vincent, and 15 Colombian nationals were captured over the brazen killing of the Haitian leader on Wednesday.
Police displayed passports, guns, and tools during the media parade.
Solages, who lives in Fort Lauderdale, describes himself as a “certified diplomatic agent,” and budding politician on a website for a charity he established in 2019 in south Florida.
He said he previously worked as a bodyguard at the Canadian Embassy in Haiti, meanwhile, Vincent lives in the Miami area.
The US State Department said it was aware of reports that Haitian-Americans were in custody but could not confirm or comment.
Haitian police chief Léon Charles said: “Foreigners came to our country to kill the president. There were 26 Colombians, identified by their passports, and two Haitian Americans as well. We are going to bring them to justice.”
Three of the alleged suspects were killed and eight reportedly remain on the run.
Cars were set alight by furious locals after a firefight between cops and the suspected assassins.
Angry crowds gathered near a police station in Petion-Ville on Thursday and torched several vehicles they presumed were used by the alleged gunmen.
Smoke was seen billowing from cars that were set on fire across the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince.
Youngsters were pictured searching for metal pieces from the wreckage.
Charles said that people should stay calm as he warned they were potentially destroying evidence.
Cops have not yet found a motive for the killing.
The former head of state was found laying on his back with 12 large wounds and one eye "gouged out" following the armed assault on his home at 1am local time on Wednesday, magistrate Carl Henry Destin told local media.
Destin said a maid and a boy on duty were tied up by a group of armed commandos who shouted "DEA operation" as they entered the property.
The gunmen, who Haitian officials claim are "foreign mercenaries" who spoke a mix of Spanish and English with an American accent, ransacked the president's office and bedroom.
The First Lady, Martine Moïse, is fighting for her life after being shot multiple times in the attack.
The 47-year-old has 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.
Moïse's daughter, Jomarlie, survived by hiding in her brother's room.
Speaking to Haitian media, Destin said the president was found "lying on his back, with blue pants, a white shirt stained with blood, his mouth open, his left eye gouged out" and with "twelve orifices".
"We saw a bullet impact at the level of his forehead, one in each nipple, three at the hip, one in the abdomen," he added, stressing the bullet holes were made by a "large caliber weapon and with 9 mm projectiles”.
Police chief Charles said his men "blocked" the group from leaving Moïse's compound and have been "battling" them ever since.
Another official called the assassins "well trained professional commandos" and "foreign mercenaries" who carried high-powered guns and dressed in black.
Charles warned on Thursday that the "pursuit of the mercenaries continues."
"Their fate is fixed: They will fall in the fighting or will be arrested.”
Witnesses said two suspects were discovered hiding in bushes in Port-au-Prince on Thursday by a crowd.
Some of the crowd grabbed the men by their shirts and pants, pushing them and occasionally slapping them.
Police arrived shortly afterward to arrest the men, who were sweating heavily and wearing clothes that seemed to be smeared with mud.
Dramatic footage shared to social media showed the pair being thrown into the back of a police truck and driving away by heavily armed cops.
“They killed the president! Give them to us. We’re going to burn them!" some in the crowd chanted.
The crowd later set fire to several abandoned cars riddled with bullet holes that they believed belonged to the suspects, who were white men.
The cars didn’t have license plates, and inside one of them was an empty box of bullets and some water, AP reported.
Officials have not yet released a motive for the slaying of Moïse, only saying the killed was carried out by “a highly trained and heavily armed group.”
His death has been condemned by Haiti’s main opposition parties and the international community.
Moïse had faced large protests in recent months that turned violent as opposition leaders and their supporters rejected his plans to hold a constitutional referendum with proposals that would strengthen the presidency.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Thursday that the White House will be assisting in local police to investigate Moïse's assassination.
“We again stand ready to provide support, provide assistance, in any way that is formally requested by the government there,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.
“We’re looking forward to hearing from them on what they would request and how we can help them through this period of time.”
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