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a62: Dominican troops guard border after Haiti coup (fwd)
From: Greg Chamberlain <GregChamberlain@compuserve.com>
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic, Dec 19 (Reuters) - The Dominican
Republic government has mobilized thousands of troops to guard the border
with Haiti after the apparent coup attempt there, its senior military
official said on Wednesday.
The soldiers will attempt to stop any coup plotters who might try to
flee over the border.
Armed Forces Minister Lieutenant General Jose Miguel Soto Jimenez said
troops were posted along a 70 km (45 mile) stretch of the frontier which
divides the Caribbean island of Hispaniola between the two countries.
Nine people were believed to have been killed in Monday morning's coup
attempt and ensuing violence, when about 30 gunmen stormed the presidential
palace in Port-au-Prince.
Security forces loyal to President Jean Bertrand Aristide repulsed
them in a gun battle, killing one and arresting several.
Haiti's ambassador in Santo Domingo, Edwin Paraison, told the
Dominican government he believed 12 to 15 people implicated in the action
were trying to reach Dominican territory.
After two incidents earlier this year, anti-Aristide figures have
sought refuge in the Dominican Republic. Soto Jimenez said that his country
had not been used to plan any action against the Haitian government.
Rumors circulated in Port-au-Prince after the coup bid that Dominican
soldiers were among the attackers but there was no confirmation of that and
Haiti analysts said any official Dominican involvement was highly unlikely.
The two countries have long been rivals and treat each other with
suspicion but official relations have improved in recent years.