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#2293: Attack near Haiti police HQ raises violence fears (fwd)


Attack near Haiti police HQ raises violence fears
PORT-AU-PRINCE, (Reuters) - When a man was murdered and two  women raped
in a gang attack up the road from Haiti's police  headquarters,residents
worried aloud that police seemed to have  little interest in fighting
A gang of more than 20 masked men dressed in black ransacked  houses
about 1 a.m. EST Wednesday in the working class Kabussy neighborhood,
just two blocks from the central police headquarters, firing shotguns
for several hours and  beating  residents, witnesses said.  Paster
Samer, 43, tried to run away from the intruders and  was fatally shot in
the back, his wife, Adrena Lois, told  Reuters. Gang members also raped
a 15-year-old girl and her aunt, a  26-year-old who had recently given
birth. The thieves beat the  older woman's husband."The police are
supposed to give us security, but they never come up here," the husband
said. "I find it bizarre that with all that heavy shooting,the police
never heard anything," one resident, who gave her name  only as Natalie,
told Reuters. After the attack, gang members telephoned residents  to
say  they would return Thursday night,residents said.Police spokesman
Jean-Dady Simeon told Reuters that police had gone to the scene and were
working on the case. But locals said that no officers had been by to
investigate as of Thursday. Early hursday, gunmen also attacked the home
of Roger Lamy,  who has been demanding that the killers of his brother,
former army Col. Jean Lamy, be brought to justice.Jean Lamy's
assassination last October sent shock waves  through Haiti's capital.
Nothing was stolen from Roger Lamy's home and the attack was widely
believed to be political.In another incident, residents of a village in
the department of Artibonite fled their homes a few days ago because  an
armed gang who threatened locals killed a youth.The violence bodes ill
for Haiti's legislative and municipal elections on March 19 and April
30, its first elections in three  years. And many people fear an
increase in political violence  could accompany the election campaign. 
In any case, violent crime has been a serious problem in  Haiti since
democracy returned in 1994, and seems to be getting  worse.In December,
police increased vehicle patrols, road checks  and general law
enforcement visibility around the capital as  part of a plan to control
crime.  "There is some kind of police strategy for Port-au-Prince,but
Port-au-Prince is not the whole country. There is no national plan, so
there is a lot of concern about security for coming elections," said
Pierre Esperance, director in Haiti of  the New  York-based National
Coalition for Haitian Rights,which  monitors the police and justice
system. The country's 6,200-strong police force is still young and  in
training. The force was created in 1995 to replace the army,  which was
disbanded after the United States led a multinational invasion to Haiti
to remove a military regime.