PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Eric Jean Baptiste, a former presidential candidate and leader of a political party in Haiti, was shot dead, a party official said on Saturday. The murder stunned many in a country already in crisis.
Baptiste was killed Friday in the community of Laboule in the capital of Port-au-Prince along with his bodyguard, according to Ricardo Nordain, spokesman for his Rally of Progressive National Democrats, founded in 1979 by former President Leslie Manigat. .
Baptiste also owned one of the largest lottery companies in Haiti, “Pere Eternel”.
No one has been arrested.
Prime Minister Ariel Henry said he and others were outraged by the killing.
“The horrific assassination of political leader Eric Jean Baptiste and his bodyguard has once again plunged the Haitian nation into turmoil. We strongly condemn this heinous crime against this patriot, this moderate politician committed to change,” he tweeted.
The United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti echoed Henry’s sentiments, saying it condemned the killing as it demanded justice and called on local authorities to ameliorate the country’s growing insecurity.
“Jean Baptiste was a committed politician, serving the consolidation of democracy and the rule of law in Haiti. His murder constitutes an attack on these core values,” the office said.
The murder took place in an area where the Ti Makak gang, which means “little macaques”, is fighting with the Toto gang for control of the territory. The community is located near Pelerin, where President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated in his private residence in July 2021.
In August, Yvon Buissereth, a former senator who worked for the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour, was killed and his body set on fire.
In January, two journalists were also killed in Laboule and their bodies set on fire.