Haiti Police Hold President’s Palace Security Chief

Haiti Police Hold President’s Palace Security Chief

Haiti Police Hold President’s Palace Security Chief

Haiti Police Hold President’s Palace Security Chief

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — The head of palace security for President Jovenel Moïse, who was assassinated last week at his home by a team of armed men in an attack that has shaken an already fragile nation, was taken into police custody on Thursday.

The detention of the security chief for the presidential palace, Dimitri Hérard, was confirmed by Marie Michelle Verrier, a spokeswoman for Haiti’s National Police.

Mr. Hérard was one of four members of the president’s security personnel whom the state prosecutor was planning to call in for questioning earlier this week, as questions remained over how the attackers managed to enter the heavily guarded home.

The head of the presidential guard and two other top bodyguards had also been called in for questioning, Bedford Claude, the chief public prosecutor in Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital, said earlier this week. He had issued summons for the four to appear as part of the investigation into the assassination.

Mr. Hérard’s detention comes as questions have begun to be raised about the response of security guards after two dozen armed mercenaries drove up to the president’s home in several vehicles, with some accused of entering the residence and opening fire after being met with little resistance.

The palace security chief has also attracted attention because he made several stopovers in the Colombian capital, Bogotá, in the months before the assassination. Haitian officials say a group of former commandos from Colombia, whom they accuse of acting as mercenaries, played a central role in the killing.

Colombia’s defense minister said during a news conference on Monday that Mr. Hérard, who was trained in neighboring Ecuador, transited through Bogotá six times this year on his way to other Latin American countries, stopping for two days or more on at least one occasion.

Last week, Mr. Hérard declined to respond to questions from The New York Times, texting: “Unfortunately, after consulting with my lawyer, I am not in a position to comment on this at the very moment as this is an open investigation and a matter of national security.”

When asked, he did not provide the name of his lawyer.


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