11 gunmen storm Taiwan embassy in Haiti

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Five of the suspects arrested at the Taiwan embassy. (PNH photo) Five of the suspects arrested at the Taiwan embassy. (PNH photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Nearly a dozen gunmen believed to be involved in the assassination of Haiti’s president forced their way into the Taiwan embassy on Thursday (July 8) but have since been arrested, and no injuries have been reported.

Taiwan’s embassy in Port-au-Prince has been closed since the assassination of President Jovenel Moise on Wednesday (July 7), with staff working from home. However, Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Joanne Ou (歐江安) told Taiwan News that early Thursday morning the embassy’s security team discovered a band of armed men had breached the facility’s security perimeter.

The men had managed to make their way past the security guard station and entered the embassy’s courtyard. Upon discovering the breach, security personnel immediately notified embassy staff and the Haitian police.

Embassy staff approved a request from the Haitian government to deploy police into the compound to conduct a search for the suspects. Police launched the operation at 4 p.m. that afternoon and apprehended 11 armed suspects, according to Ou.

Based on an initial inspection, the embassy sustained some minor damage during the intrusion, including broken windows and doors. However, Ou made it clear that no staff members were in the embassy at the time.

The Haitian National Police have since taken the men into custody for questioning. It is currently unclear why the men targeted the Taiwan embassy.

Haiti 24 released images of five of the suspects who had been arrested at the embassy. Among these is 35-year-old Haitian-American James Solages, one of two American citizens believed to have been involved in the assassination.

According to the AyiboPost, Haitian authorities believe 28 mercenaries took part in the assassination, including 26 Colombians and two Americans. Thus far, authorities have captured 17 suspects, including 15 Colombians and the two Americans, and killed three, leaving eight allegedly still on the run.

Leon Charles, the country’s interim national police chief, said the goal now is to track down the masterminds behind the crime. The following are the identities of some of the suspects captured by the government thus far, as reported by the AyiboPost:

11 gunmen arrested at Taiwan embassy in Haiti

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Foreign ministry urges Taiwan nationals to avoid travel to Haiti

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TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on Friday (July 8) issued a red travel warning to Taiwan nationals planning to go to Haiti following the assassination of the Caribbean nation’s president, Jovenel Moise.

A diplomatic ally of Taiwan, Haiti has been in a heightened state of political turmoil since Moise was killed in his home outside the capital of Port-au-Prince. His wife was also seriously injured and was sent to a hospital in Miami.

Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph has declared a “state of siege.”

Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Joanne Ou (歐江安) on Friday night said that MOFA has declared a red travel warning for Haiti, urging Taiwanese not to go there at this time. She added that those who must travel to the country should confirm the status of their arrival and departure flights before heading to the airport.

Ou said MOFA will continue to pay close attention to the situation in Haiti and the ministry reminds Taiwanese in the country to pay attention to their personal safety and to stay in contact with the Taiwan embassy.

The Bureau of Consular Affairs (BOCA) advised Taiwanese already in Haiti to avoid areas where people are gathering to demonstrate, refrain from revealing their personal belongings, and be vigilant toward strangers.

BOCA said that any Taiwanese in Haiti who need assistance can call the emergency contact number of the Taiwan embassy or the MOFA Emergency Contact Center.

Taiwan Embassy in Haiti: (+509)3113-4662

MOFA Emergency Contact Center: 0800-085-095

MOFA maintains four travel warnings. A gray warning reminds travelers of certain risks, yellow urges them to pay special attention to travel safety and to reconsider the trip, orange means to avoid unnecessary travel, and red advises against going to a certain country and to leave as soon as possible if travel is necessary.