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Jamaica Arrests Man in Connection With Haitian President’s Killing

FILE - Haiti's late president, Jovenel Moise, is pictured during an interview in his office in Port-au-Prince, Aug. 28, 2019. Moise was assassinated July 7, 2021.

Jamaican police have arrested a suspect in the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise, a Jamaican police source told VOA on Friday.

The man, identified by Interpol as Mario Antonio Palacios Palacios, was arrested by the island's counterterror unit earlier this week after he entered the country without documentation, and he is still in Jamaican custody, the police source said.

Palacios, a former Colombian military officer, is wanted by the Haitian National Police in connection Moise's killing. Colombia's police chief, Jorge Vargas, has been notified of Palacio’s capture, Agence France-Presse reported.

The arrest warrant posted on Haitian police’s official Twitter page on July 12 describes Palacios as "extremely dangerous." In one of the photos, he is wearing military attire.

The Jamaican police source told VOA that Palacios had appeared in court and had been convicted of illegally entering the country.

Interpol had issued a red notice for Palacios. Jamaican law enforcement worked with international partners, the official said, to determine Palacios’ identity.

It was unclear whether Palacios would be extradited to Haiti, Colombia or elsewhere. The police source told VOA that would depend on "what mechanism, what's in place, what extradition agreement we have in place."

More than 40 people have been arrested in connection with the death of Moise, who was shot and killed early July 7 at his private residence in a luxury suburb of the capital, Port-au-Prince.

Among those in custody are 18 former Colombian soldiers, Haitian Americans and former Haitian National Police officers. A former Haitian Justice Ministry official, Joseph Badio, who is on the most-wanted list, remains at large.

Moise's killing sparked outrage in Haiti and the diaspora.

Former first lady Martine Moise, who was injured during the attack that killed the president and was later treated at a Miami-area hospital, appeared in court October 6 to answer questions.

In an interview with VOA Creole as she was leaving the courthouse, Moise said she was willing to answer the judge's questions because she wanted the case to move forward.

"I'm calling for justice. I will ask for it in the morning, at noon and at night until we get it," Moise said. She also appealed to anyone with information about the suspects wanted by police to contact law enforcement so they could be apprehended.

Matiado Vilme contributed to this report from Port-au-Prince.