After nearly two years on the run from authorities, one of the main suspects in the 2021 assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse has been arrested in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. Joseph Badio, a former employee of the Ministry of Justice, was arrested Oct. 19, the Associated Press reports.
Badio was formerly employed by the Haitian government in their anti-corruption unit, until he was fired for alleged ethics violations a few weeks before the president was assassinated. Moïse, according to the AP, was shot in his private home 12 times, and his murder sent the country into political turmoil.
Following the assassination, several people were arrested in connection with the killing of Moïse, including Badio. Eleven men are also in the custody of the United States, including former Haitian senator John Joël Joseph, who are alleged conspirators in a plot to remove Moïse so they could benefit from another administration.
Joseph has already pleaded guilty to charges relating to the assassination of Moïse, and his sentencing date is Dec. 19. Joseph was extradited from Jamaica to the U.S. to face charges of conspiring to commit murder or kidnapping outside the United States as well as providing material support resulting in death. Two others, Haitian-Chilean citizen Rodolphe Jaar and former Colombian soldier German Alejandro Rivera Garcia, have already pleaded guilty, Jaar was sentenced to life in June 2023, and Garcia will be sentenced on Oct. 27.
Following the murder of Moïse, Haiti was beset by gang violence, which resulted in Haiti’s Prime Minister Ariel Henry petitioning the United Nations to send troops to Haiti. The UN’s Security Council voted early in October to authorize a deployment of troops in an effort to help protect the citizens of Haiti. Kenya, the country supplying the bulk of the forces, has not yet set a date it will deploy the troops.
According to the BBC, Moïse was murdered in his bedroom by Colombian mercenaries who have either been arrested or killed. Within hours of the murder, Badio was named by at least one of the mercenaries as the person who ordered the hit.
According to the Brookings Institution, Haiti’s police and politicians are deeply connected with the gangs currently terrorizing the country’s capital. As their report notes, the will of other countries to send armed forces has been non-existent, evidenced by Kenya’s lack of a declaration of a date. The political situation in Haiti is tenuous, and throughout many of its administrations, the various Haitian gangs have been used to the ends of the Haitian government. Its police force is frustrated by Henry’s leadership and under-equipped to curb the violence facing its citizens.
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