US ‘mercenaries’ who 'assassinated' Jovenel Moïse claim they were ‘hired as translators’ in plot to ‘arrest' president

TWO US commandos accused of assassinating President Jovenel Moïse claim to be "hired translators" out to arrest him, an official claims.

A senior judge said James Solages, 35, and Joseph Vincent, 55, tried to arrest Moïse "within the framework of the execution of a mandate of an investigating judge" and not to kill him.

Magistrate Clement Noel said Solages found the opening "on the internet" and had been living in Haiti for a month and Vincent six months.

"They said they were translators. The mission was to arrest President Jovenel Moïse, within the framework of the execution of a mandate of an investigating judge and not to kill him," he told The Nouvelliste.

The suspects allegedly arrived in Haiti on June 6 via the Dominican Republic.

Solages and Vincent were arrested alongside 15 Colombian nationals – six of which are former army members – by Haitian police on Thursday.

Solages, who lives in Fort Lauderdale, describes himself as a “certified diplomatic agent,” and budding politician on a website for a charity he established in 2019 in south Florida.

On his bio page for the charity, he said he previously worked as a bodyguard at the Canadian Embassy in Haiti.

On his LinkedIn profile, under "skills" he listed: "Military Police."

The US State Department said it was aware of reports that Haitian-Americans were in custody but could not confirm or comment.

Haitian police chief Léon Charles said: “Foreigners came to our country to kill the president. We are going to bring them to justice.”

One of the commandos was found dead on the roof of a nearby house after being wounded in a fire fight with police.

The men has been living in a home associated to Moïse's ally Magalie Habitant, who denied any connection to the two, The Nouvelliste reports.

"I have nothing to do with this house that I left for three months. I had hired it from a lawyer," she said.

Three of the alleged suspects – all Colombian – were killed and eight reportedly remain on the run.

Cars were set alight by furious locals after a firefight between cops and the suspected assassins.

Angry crowds gathered near a police station in Petion-Ville on Thursday and torched several vehicles they presumed were used by the alleged gunmen.

Smoke was seen billowing from cars that were set on fire across the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince.

Four more Colombian suspects were identified as Alejandro Girardo Zapata, 41; John Jairo Ramirez Gomez, 40; Victor Albeiro Pinera Cardona, 40; and Manuel Antonio Groso Guarin, 41.

Haitian officials have not released the names of the other men arrested.

Police are continuing the search for more suspects.

On his LinkedIn profile, under "skills" he listed: "Military Police."

Meanwhile, Vincent lives in the Miami area.

Moïse was allegedly killed by a group of foreign "well-trained commandos" posing as US drug enforcement agents who stormed his presidential compound in Port-au-Prince.

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