Colombian Suspects in Killing of Haitian President Are Army Veterans

The majority of suspects involved in the assassination of Haiti’s president were retired officers and soldiers of Colombia’s armed forces, experienced fighters who had been recruited by four security companies to work on the island, the Colombian government said.

Haitian authorities say that security forces detained 18 Colombian nationals and two Haitian-Americans as they hunted down the suspected killers of President Jovenel Moïse across the upscale hillside suburb where he lived with his wife, Martine Moïse. Authorities credited ordinary Haitians for helping round up some of the suspects.

In Bogotá, Colombia’s police chief, Gen. Jorge Luis Vargas, said on Friday that at least 13 suspects are believed to be retired members of the Colombian army, including two men who Haiti’s interim government asserts were killed in gunfights with security forces. Little is known about why the Colombians went to the impoverished, politically unstable country, except that they arrived between May and June.

After a half-century guerrilla conflict in Colombia, some former army officers and soldiers have been contracted by security companies world-wide, and others have drifted into drug gangs, according to Colombian officials and analysts who track the drug trade.

The Colombian government has appointed an investigative team of military intelligence officers to provide financial data, flight schedules and other information to Interpol and Haitian authorities, Mr. Vargas said.

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