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6949: DOMINICAN ARMY ARRESTS HAITIANS FLEEING THEIR COUNTRY (fwd)
From: nozier <firstname.lastname@example.org>
DOMINICAN ARMY ARRESTS HAITIANS FLEEING THEIR COUNTRY
Wednesday, February 07, 2001 12:07 PM EST
Santo Domingo, Feb 7, Feb 7,, 2001 (EFE via COMTEX) -- The Dominican
government has deployed hundreds of soldiers along its border with
Haiti and arrested Haitians fleeing their country for fear of
repression, spokesmen for the Dominican armed forces told EFE on
Wednesday. The arrests have taken place at various border crossings just
as President-elect Jean Bertrand Aristide prepares to accept the
presidential sash for the second time as Haiti's leader of state. "It
appears that these people are fleeing their country for fear of
repression" after Aristide's inauguration, the armed forces spokesmen
said, adding that none of the arrested Haitians have been repatriated.
Reports on the border situation coincides with Dominican President
Hipolito Mejia's decision to cancel his trip "for security reasons" to
Port-au-Prince to attend the presidential inauguration of former
Salesian priest Aristide.
Mejia delegated Dominican Foreign Minister Hugo Tolentino Dipp to
represent him at Aristide's inauguration ceremony. He said that, "as a
preventative measure" against the possible Haitian exodus, on Monday
"hundreds of soldiers" were sent to the border posts of Dajabon,
Montecristi, Jimani and Pedernales.
A coalition of opposition parties in Haiti have refused to recognize
the Aristide presidency, arguing that elections that resulted in his
victory were fraudulent. The coalition has proposed its own president.
Relations between the Dominican Republic and Haiti have traditionally
been characterized by tension.