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Haiti: Jovenel Moise's widow warns 'blood will not cease' at funeral

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Matias Delacroix/Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

Haiti

The body of slain Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was returned to his hometown Friday for a private funeral amid heavy security following violent protests and fears of political volatility in the Caribbean nation

Moïse's body arrived shortly after dawn at his family's seaside property where the funeral is being held. Six officials carried the brown casket up a stage where they saluted it and stood before it in silence for several minutes before draping a large red and blue Haitian flag over it.

At the end of the funeral, Martine Moïse spoke publicly for the first time since the attack, her soft voice growing stronger through the 15-minute speech.

"The family is living a black day as we are here having made the effort to say goodbye to my president, to my husband," she said.

"Blood will not cease to flow. Today it is Jovenel Moïse. Tomorrow who will it be? It will be him, it will be me, it will be us."

Earlier, cries filled the air at the arrival of Haiti's National Police Chief León Charles.

Haitians clad in somber suits, shiny shoes and black and white formal dresses shouted and pointed fingers at the neighboring seating platforms where Haitian officials and foreign dignitaries sat above at least a dozen men with high-powered weapons.

"You didn't take any measures to save Jovenel! You contributed to his killing!" one woman yelled.

The funeral comes days after a new prime minister supported by key international diplomats was installed in Haiti — a move that appeared aimed at averting a leadership struggle following Moïse's assassination.

Ariel Henry, who was designated prime minister by Moïse before he was slain but never sworn in replaced interim prime minister Claude Joseph, and has promised to form a provisional consensus government until elections are held.

Moïse was sworn in as Haiti's president in February 2017 and faced increasing criticism in recent years from those who accused him of becoming increasingly authoritarian. He had been ruling by decree for more than a year after the country failed to hold legislative elections.

Authorities have said that at least 26 suspects have been arrested in the killing, including 18 former Colombian soldiers.

Police are still looking for several more suspects they say were involved in the assassination plot, including a former rebel leader and an ex-senator.

AP