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Haiti acting PM Claude Joseph to step down

Jovenel Moise, assassinated president of Haiti, speaks at the United Nations on September 27, 2018. Ariel Henry, who Moise named as prime minister before his death, will take the position after acting Prime Minister Claude Joseph agreed to step down. File Photo by Monika Graff/UPI
Jovenel Moise, assassinated president of Haiti, speaks at the United Nations on September 27, 2018. Ariel Henry, who Moise named as prime minister before his death, will take the position after acting Prime Minister Claude Joseph agreed to step down. File Photo by Monika Graff/UPI | License Photo

July 19 (UPI) -- Haiti's acting Prime Minister Claude Joseph said Monday he will vacate the post so rival Ariel Henry, who was named to the post July 5 by assassinated president Jovenel Moise, can take over.

Henry was waiting to be sworn into the office when Moise was assassinated July 7 and Joseph has continued on in the position since, leaving the country in a leadership limbo. Elections Minister Mathias Pierre said Joseph will return to his former job as foreign minister, according to CNN.

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"I am calling for all of us to unite and to work together to stop the nation from descending into the abyss," Henry said in an audio statement, according to CNN. "Today, it is our responsibility as leaders to work together to face our challenges. I know some people are scared and have questions about who is leading the country. We weren't ready for recent events, but I can assure you that in a very short period of time I will unveil a new coalition government."

Jovenel Moise's wife, Martine Moise, arrived in Haiti on Saturday after doctors treated her in Florida. She was flanked with bodyguards, wearing an arm sling and a bulletproof vest at the Port-au-Toussaint Louverture International Airport.

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In the meantime, the Miami Herald reported Sunday that Jovenel Moise pleaded with national police for reinforcements the night of his death, moments before the assassination.

"They are shooting by the house," Moise said to the Haitian National Police commissioner. "Mobilize people."

Justice of the Peace Charles Destin said Moise was shot in the forehead, chest, hip and stomach, and his left eye was gouged.

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Authorities arrested 18 Colombians and two Haitian Americans in connection with the assassination with five remaining at large. Three allegedly involved in the incident were found dead. Haitian security forces made additional arrests, including Florida-based Haitian doctor Christian Emmanuel Sanon.

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