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#3383: Haiti Opposition Official Killed (fwd)

From: Rosann Clements <rosann@onemain.com>

Haiti Opposition Official Killed 
By Michael Norton
Associated Press Writer
Friday, April 28, 2000; 11:27 a.m. EDT

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- Attackers armed with machetes burst into the
home of a local opposition campaign director this week and hacked him to
death, a party leader said Friday, the latest killing in violence that
has erupted ahead of legislative elections. 

Ducertain Armand was killed Tuesday evening outside Thomazeau, a small
town about 16 miles northeast of Port-au-Prince, said Marie-France
Claude, mayoral candidate in the capital for the Haitian Democratic
Christian Party. 

Armand's body bore numerous machete wounds and his head was cut off,
Claude said. 

Armand ran the senate election campaign for Claude's sister, Marie-Denise
Claude, and had received death threats, Claude said. 

Increasing political violence has led many Haitians to question whether
two rounds of local and legislative elections can be held as scheduled on
May 21 and June 25. At least 11 people - most opposition figures - have
been killed since March 29, and an opposition candidate for a local
council has been missing since he was kidnapped April 18. 

There have been no arrests in the slayings. 

Haiti's elections council president, Leon Manus, warned Thursday that
voting won't take place if the violence continues. He urged President
Rene Preval and police to guarantee security. 

Most opposition politicians allege that Preval hasn't acted because he
wants to postpone the legislative elections until December, when
presidential elections will be held. 

Under that scenario, candidates affiliated with former President
Jean-Bertrand Aristide - who is seeking a second term as president in
December - could ride his coattails to victory, the opposition claims.
Aristide, Haiti's most popular politician and Preval's mentor, was barred
by law from seeking a consecutive term in 1995 elections. 

Preval denies the opposition charges, insisting he wants separate
elections for the legislature and the presidency. 

(c) Copyright 2000 The Associated Press