Failed attempt on Ariel Henry’s life comes less than six months after the country’s president was assassinated

Gunmen have tried to kill Haiti’s prime minister, Ariel Henry, following threats from gangs. The premier escaped unscathed, however, one person was reportedly killed, and two more injured in the shooting.

Henry was visiting the northern city of Gonaives on Saturday, as the country marked the 218th anniversary of its independence. According to the prime minister’s office, he was leaving a church when “bandits and terrorists” opened fire on him and his security detail. Footage circulating on social media appears to show the moment of the attack: the politician and his bodyguards are seen ducking for cover at the sound of gunfire and making a dash for a nearby vehicle. 

One person was killed and two more injured in Saturday’s shooting, according to local media. Police, however, have not yet confirmed casualties in what they described as the work of “armed groups.” Media reports claim that a local gang could be behind the assassination attempt, citing threats made earlier by its boss against the prime minister.

Henry’s office said several arrest warrants had been issued following Saturday’s attack. 

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Henry was sworn in as prime minister weeks after the assassination of the country’s president, Jovenel Moise.

On Monday, Panama authorities reportedly arrested a Colombian citizen suspected of having been involved in the killing of Moise. Officials in Panama have yet to confirm the arrest, though. 

Haiti’s president was killed in July 2021. According to local police, a group of mercenaries – 26 Colombians and two Haitian Americans – stormed Moise’s residence, fatally shot the president and wounded his wife. Four suspects were killed in the ensuing gunfight with Haitian police, and several dozen were arrested in the following months.

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