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#3303: Haiti Opposition Candidate Kidnapped (fwd)


Wednesday April 19 5:55 PM ET 
 Haiti Opposition Candidate Kidnapped

 By MICHAEL NORTON, Associated Press Writer 

 PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) - Gunmen kidnapped a local opposition
candidate in the latest violence to hit Haiti's election campaign, a
party official said Wednesday. Four men in a pickup truck abducted
Claudy Myrthil in front of his home in a Port-au-Prince suburb Tuesday,
said Mischa Gaillard, spokesman for the five-party opposition coalition,
known as Space for Concord. ``The atmosphere is one of terror,''
Gaillard said. ``We need security for candidates and voters to have a
free and fair election.'' Myrthil was running for a seat on a city
government advisory board. His sister told the private Radio Kiskeya
that he had previously been threatened. At least 10 people have been
killed - including several opposition officials - in election-related
violence in recent weeks. Haiti is scheduled to hold two rounds of    
legislative and municipal voting on May 21 and June 25.
 As part of a crime wave that has accompanied the political violence,
Alicia Matos, wife of Spanish Ambassador Rafael Matos, was slightly
injured Monday by a mob throwing stones at passing vehicles. Foreign
diplomats met with President Rene Preval Tuesday to ask that police
crack down. Opposition politicians blame supporters of former President
Jean-Bertrand Aristide for the political violence. Aristide, who denies
his claims, plans to run in presidential elections slated for December.
 Militants claiming to support Aristide razed the Space for Concord's
headquarters and stoned the offices of the opposition Struggling
People's Organization on April 8. Opposition leaders say two local party
managers have been killed, party offices in other towns attacked, and
campaign workers beaten. Haiti's most prominent radio journalist, Jean
Dominique, was slain on April 3. Preval, an Aristide ally, has accused
the opposition of ``fueling the climate of disorder'' with their
anti-violence protests.