The president of Haiti, Jovenel Moise, 53, was shot and killed in his private residence, the interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph announced Wednesday.
The president's residence also put out a statement Wednesday saying the attack occurred around 1 a.m. and that first lady Martine Moise was also wounded in the attack and is currently hospitalized.
The assassination was carried out by a commando group with "foreign elements," AFP news agency reported, citing interim Prime Minister Joseph, who was due to be replaced this week after three months on the job.
"The president was assassinated at his home by foreigners who spoke English and Spanish," Joseph told AFP, labeling the assassination a "hateful, inhumane and barbaric act."
"All measures are being taken to guarantee the continuity of the state and to protect the nation," he added.
Joseph said police had been deployed to the National Palace as well as the upscale neighborhood of Petionville and will also be sent to other areas.
Moise had been ruling Haiti's population of over 11 million by decree since the 2018 elections were delayed over a series of political disputes, including when Moise's term was set to expire. Parliament was dissolved as a result.
Opposition leaders have accused him of being power-hungry. With two controversial decrees, Moise has limited the power of courts to perform audits on public procurement contracts and created an intelligence service that only answers to the president. /argumentum.al