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#5345: 6 Haitian Police Officers Arrested (fwd)




From: nozier@tradewind.net

6 Haitian Police Officers Arrested
 The Associated Press, Thu 19 Oct 2000 

 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. 
The opposition called the boycott because they charge legislative
elections earlier this year were rigged.Pro-Aristide candidates won 80
percent of the seats.