Don’t ‘lose its way’
The widow of slain Haitian leader Jovenel Moise, who was critically wounded in the attack that claimed his life, on Saturday issued her first public remarks since the assault, calling on the nation not to "lose its way."
Martine Moise's comments came three days after she was airlifted to a Miami hospital for treatment of grave wounds suffered early Wednesday when gunmen stormed the family home in the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince.
They also come as the impoverished Caribbean nation reels from the slaying of its leader, with no clear succession plan on the horizon.
"I am alive, thanks to God," Martine Moise said in an audio message in Creole that was posted on her official Twitter account, and verified as authentic to AFP by Haiti's minister of culture and communications, Pradel Henriquez.
"In the blink of an eye, the mercenaries entered my home and riddled my husband with bullets ... without even giving him a chance to say a word," she said.
According to Haitian authorities, a hit squad of 28 men -- 26 Colombians, many of them retired soldiers, and two Haitian-Americans -- burst in and opened fire on the couple in their home.
So far, 17 have been arrested, and at least three were killed. A handful remain at large, police say.
But no motive has been made public, and questions are swirling about who might have masterminded the audacious assassination.
Martine Moise pointed at a variety of possible reasons: saying the killers could have been sent by people who might have been displeased with her husband's plans to provide "roads, water and electricity, a (constitutional) referendum and elections set for the end of the year."
She suggested that perhaps those behind the killing "do not want to see a transition in the country."
"I am crying, it is true, but we cannot let the country lose its way," she said. "We cannot let his blood... have been spilled in vain."
Moise's assassination has plunged already troubled Haiti -- the poorest country in the Americas -- into chaos.