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#5350: AP article on NEW Coup attempt in Haiti (fwd)




From: Jean Jean-Pierre <jean@acd-pc.com>

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP)  Six Haitian
police officers
accused of plotting to assassinate the country's top
leaders and stage a
coup were arrested as they crossed the border to the
Dominican Republic,
Dominican and Haitian officials said.

Wednesday night's announcement comes a day after
Haiti's Premier
Jacques-Edouard Alexis said the government was
beginning an
investigation into unidentified police officers
allegedly plotting to
destabilize the impoverished, restive country two weeks
before
presidential elections.

The situation in Haiti is extremely tense ahead of
elections planned for
Nov. 26 that are expected to return to power
Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the
controversial ex-president. Major opposition parties
plan to boycott the
vote.

Miguel Soto, secretary of the Dominican armed forces,
said six Haitians
in police uniform were arrested Monday and brought to
Santo Domingo, the
Dominican capital, for interrogation on Wednesday.

``It seems they were implicated in a coup d'etat,''
Soto told The
Associated Press.

In Haiti, leading Sen. Gerard Gilles told The
Associated Press that the
men were planning to assassinate Aristide, his protege
and successor
President Rene Preval and Alexis, the premier. Gilles
is from Aristide's
Lavalas Family party.

Gilles said the men would be extradited to Haiti on
Thursday.

Aristide, a former Catholic priest, was Haiti's first
freely elected
leader and was ousted by a military coup in 1991.
Aristide was
reinstated by a 1994 U.S.-led invasion of the Caribbean
country. He then
disbanded Haiti's army and replaced it with a civilian
police force.

Radio Marien, a private Dominican radio station, quoted
one of those
arrested, whom it did not identify by name, as saying
they were fleeing
into Dominican territory from a Haitian mob threatening
to kill them.

Preval was in Venezuela to sign an oil agreement along
with recently
installed Dominican President Hipolito Mejia, who told
reporters ``I
don't believe that this is very important. If Preval
were worried about
it, he would not be here.''

Haiti's main opposition leader, Gerard Pierre Charles
of the Struggling
People's Organization, said he believed the ``supposed
conspiracy'' was
an attempt to derail talks brokered by the Organization
of American
States to end the opposition boycott and allow a
competitive
presidential election.