Outgoing Prime Minister of Haiti Claude Joseph confirmed the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in the early hours of Wednesday by suspected foreign mercenaries in an “odious, inhuman, and barbaric act.”

Moïse took over for predecessor Michel Martelly in the aftermath of the chaotic 2015 elections as a placeholder president. Moïse insisted that his term began in 2017, thus making him legitimate president through 2022, but faced opposition who claimed that his term had expired by this year and branded him a dictator. Opposition leaders attempted to install a parallel president, 72-year-old judge Joseph Mécène, in February, but Mécène has not received any international recognition and has not made any significant public pronouncements since allegedly becoming president.