The President of Haiti has been assassinated at his home, the country's acting Prime Minister confirmed in a statement.
A group of unidentified individuals attacked the private resident of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, 53, overnight and shot him dead, Reuters reported.
His wife, First Lady Martine Moïse, has been hospitalised, the Associated Press reported.
Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph confirmed the death in a statement early on Wednesday.
"At around one in the morning, on the night of Tuesday July 6 to Wednesday July 7, 2021, a group of unidentified individuals, some of whom spoke in Spanish, attacked the private residence of the President of the Republic and thus fatally injured the head of the state," the statement said according to France24.
The statement then went on to condemn the "hateful, inhumane and barbaric act", calling for calm and assuring the public the situation is "under control".
“The country’s security situation is under the control of the National Police of Haiti and the Armed Forces of Haiti,” Joseph said in a statement from his office.
“Democracy and the republic will win.”
Political upheaval ahead of president's death
The assassination comes amid a wave of rising politically linked violence in the Caribbean nation.
Politically divided, Haiti is facing a growing a humanitarian crisis, shortages of food and there are fears of widespread disorder, Reuters reports.
While political, economic and social issues worsen, gang violence spiked in the capital of Port-au-Prince, with food and fuel becoming scarce under Moïse's rule.
Moïse won the presidential election in November 2016 and was sworn in on February 7, 2017 and since then faced fierce protests.
The opposition accusing him this year of seeking to install a dictatorship by overstaying his mandate and becoming more authoritarian - charges he denied.
Moïse ruled by decree after the country failed to hold elections, which led to Parliament being dissolved.
Opposition leaders demanded Moïse step down in the months leading up to his death, arguing his term as president ended earlier this year.
Haiti was scheduled to hold general elections later this year.
With Reuters and Associated Press
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