Haiti PM declares emergency after president murdered

Haiti declared a state of emergency on Wednesday hours after the brazen assassination of the Caribbean nation’s president.

The government said President Jovenel Moise was shot dead by unidentified attackers in his home in Port-au-Prince overnight in what it called a “barbaric act.”

The 53-year-old president’s wife Martine Moise was also shot and injured and receiving medical treatment.

Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph said in televised remarks that the government had declared a state of emergency amid confusion over who would take over the reins of the country.

"Haitian people, stay calm as everything is under control. The council of ministers gathered to ensure the continuity of the state. President Jovenel Moise will not die without getting justice."

In Washington, U.S. President Joe Biden was briefed on the murder and called the situation in Haiti worrisome.

"We need a lot more information but it's just, very worrisome."

The assassination coincides with a wave of gang violence as armed groups battle police and one another for control of the streets in recent months.

Haiti is the poorest nation in the western hemisphere. It faces a growing humanitarian crisis and food shortage, and fears of widespread chaos are spreading.

The Dominican Republic announced it was closing its border with Haiti.

The U.S. Embassy said in a statement it would be closed on Wednesday due to the "ongoing security situation."

Moise faced fierce protests after taking office as president in 2017.

This year the opposition accused him of seeking to install a dictatorship, which he denied.