[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

a97: Details on attempted coup d'etat attack on Haiti's National Palace on Dec 17th (fwd)

From: MKarshan@aol.com

Details on the attempted coup d’etat attack on Haiti's National Palace on 
December 17, 2001


On December 17, 2001 at 2 am, using the element of surprise, three (3) pickup 
trucks carrying approximately 30 commandos approached the entryway known as 
Westgate of the National Palace (which is directly across from ministry 
offices) and launched a grenade into the entryway before storming the gate 
and invading the National Palace grounds through the right hand side.  The 
iron gate was damaged from the impact.  

The National Palace security personnel were forced to retreat for cover in 
face of the heavy weapons used by the commandos including an M2 with M50 
caliber weapon, which is a ground to air weapon, which was prominently bolted 
onto one of the vehicles on a bi-pod.  Through the M2 was draped a large 
quantity of M50 caliber linked missile-like projectile ammunition, each which 
are approximately 5 inches long.  An M2 with M50 caliber bullets can reach a 
radius of 25 kilometers.  

Haiti’s security units do not have weapons of this magnitude and the 
overwhelming majority of Haiti’s security forces have never seen weapons of 
this type or witnessed its sound or impact.  

Some of the National Palace security took cover and worked together to plan 
their strategy for an offensive.  

When the vehicles entered the National Palace grounds they started shooting 
at the National Palace building causing large holes of approximately 2 inches 
deep in the side wall of the National Palace.  

The commandos were wearing green camouflage military clothes identical to the 
uniforms worn by the Leopard unit of the former Haitian military.  There was 
very heavy shooting and exchange of fire between the commandos and the palace 
security personnel.

Some of the commandos shot at the glass doors that enter into the reception 
area of the National Palace and shot at the official framed photograph of 
President Aristide, which hung on the wall behind the reception desk.  They 
tore off the door on the wooden cabinet where visitors’ cards of 
identification are stored.  

They tried to break into some of the rooms on the ground floor, which in the 
past under the former military may have been used as weapons’ depots.  The 
rooms on the ground floor are covered with metal doors, which are closed with 
large padlocks.  Two administrative offices were entered after the commandos 
shot off the padlocks and shot up the glass doors leading into the rooms.  
The commandos did attempt to open another room they believed to house 
ammunition but several padlocks protected it.  Although they shot a hole 
through one of the padlocks, they were not successful in opening the door.

The commandos went up to the second and third floors of the National Palace, 
shooting at an office used by a US-based private security firm contracted by 
the National Palace to provide security to the President and the First Lady, 
taking certain materials from their security office.  The commandos entered 
the President’s office stealing his laptop and briefcase.  The briefcase was 
later retrieved on the Palace grounds after the commandos were forced out.

The commandos took a walkie-talkie from a National Palace security personnel 
and delivered their message, which was heard by the more than one hundred 
security personnel who are on that frequency.  The commandos stated that this 
was a mission of the former army and they claimed to be aligned with Guy 
Phillip and said that he was the head of their mission.  They stated that the 
president was no longer the president.  They also advised that anyone coming 
into the palace that didn’t come to support them would be shot.

A strategy was put into place by several of Haiti’s security units of the 
National Palace and Haiti’s National Police to enter and dislodge the 

The Unite de Securite du Palais National (USGPN), the Presidential Security 
Unit (PSU), (who are equivalent to the US secret service, the National Palace 
Combat Anti-Terrorism Team (CAT) and Haiti’s National Police SWAT team 
started an assault upon the assailants’ positions by entering through the 
rear via the Caserne Dessalines barracks which is used for administrative, 
training and housing of the USGPN. 

When they reached the fence that divides the Caserne and the National Palace 
grounds, they were able to shoot one of the commandos who was in the rear of 
the ground floor of the National Palace building.  He was struck in the head 
and died. This man had papers in his pocket identifying him as a Dominican 
national by the name of Perez. It was later learned that he is Chavre Milot, 
a former Haitian military.  He also had $1,000 US dollars in his pocket and 
no other currency, as well as papers with names on them, which are now being 
pursued in the investigation into this event.  Mandates (warrants) for 
arrests for questioning and for searching premises have been issued and acted 
on as a result.

Intense fire was registered in a heavy exchange of gunfire and finally the 
commandos capitulated by mounting their vehicles and leaving the National 
Palace grounds by the same west gate they had entered.  They shot their way 
out and were shooting into the streets as they took off and drove toward 
Avenue John Brown.

Meanwhile at approximately 5:30 am a helicopter on contract to Haiti’s 
National Police lifted off when day breaks from the domestic airfield, which 
is, located near the departmental police headquarters and near Haiti’s 
international airport.

6AM:  The vehicles which shot their way out of the National Palace sped 
through the streets making their way up Avenue John Brown (Lalue) and turned 
left on Nason and took airport road en route to 15 Octobre, the street that 
President Aristide has his personal residence on.  This was in fact where the 
President and his family were sleeping that night.

Learning of the attack, thousands of people took to the streets throughout 
the country and thousands arrive at the National Palace to show their 
solidarity with President Aristide and wait for his arrival at the National 
Palace that day.  The people chanted that they would not accept a coup d’etat 
and that they wanted their democratic vote respected.

The helicopter was in pursuit of the vehicles and notified the ground forces 
of the route the commandos were taking.

Security units set up a roadblock at the intersection before the President’s 
home and waited for the commandos to arrive. 

An exchange of fire between the presidential security units and the commandos 
ensued.  One of the security was hit by gunfire (he is on of the 3 that have 
since been transported to Cuba for medical intervention).

The commandos continued driving toward the road to Malpasse, which is the 
border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic.  

Local authorities were contacted to advise the population to make roadblocks 
to stop the commandos’ vehicles from continuing to the border.  

The helicopter landed in Fond Paraisien, which is en route to the border and 
advised the population that they should make a roadblock with whatever they 
could find.  

When the commandos reached Fond Paraisien they found it blocked and turned 
back towards Gaunthier. Near the cemetery of Gauthier, they made a turn 
towards Thomazeau.  The helicopter was still following them.

The helicopter advises the ground forces who had telephoned ahead to the 
local authorities in the towns along that road asking that the people built 
barricades with rocks, sticks, or whatever they could find.  

The commandos shot at the crowds along the way and shot at people at the 
roadblocks that they came across en route wounding pedestrians and killing 
one at one of the barricades.

Over Thomazeau the helicopter experienced fuel pressure problems and alerted 
the ground forces that they had to head back to the airfield to check the 

Back at the airfield the fuel pressure was checked and the helicopter 
departed again trying to locate the commandos.   The helicopter located 
ground forces. 

Because of the heavy exchange of fire with local police en route, the white 
pickup became disabled and the commandos had to abandon it.  Some mounted the 
blue pickup truck while others scattered fleeing to the wooded area of 

The police retrieved the white pickup truck.

The other vehicle reached Morne Cabrit, which has an extremely rugged road 
that brings one to the Central Plateau where one can reach the border from.  
The helicopter paralyzed the blue pickup.

Realizing that they could not move, the commandos jumped out of their vehicle 
and ran to a cavern cut out of the mountain (for the purpose of excavating 
sand to be mixed with cement).  

They stripped off their army camouflage uniforms and left them and their 
weapons in the cavern.  They exited the cavern in civilian clothes although 
one of them had no shirt on at all.  They scattered up the mountain.

The helicopter alerted ground forces to meet the copter up the road and then 
advised them of where the vehicle was and to search the cavern.  

When the SWAT team searched the cavern they found approximately 15 weapons 
including Galil , M16s Far (Belgium made), and a grenade launcher M79.  Four 
of the Galils were later identified by their serial numbers to be weapons 
stolen from the Police Academy during the July 28, 2001 attack there in which 
police were also killed.  Also found in the cavern were the camouflage 
military uniforms, vests saturated with perspiration, pants saturated with 

Police made contact with local authorities in various localities asking them 
to stay alert and advise of strangers in their area.  Local authorities in 
Lascahobas and Mirebalais decided to mobilize and remain vigilant to work 
with the police.  
In the town of Terre Rouje residents spotted and detained a man they believed 
to be one of the commandos because he had gunshot wounds.  The population 
handed him over to the police who later transported him to the capital for 
questioning.  This man has been identified as Pierre Richardson, a former 
Haitian military, who had $800 US dollars in his pocket and a letter issued 
by the police in Santo Domingo advising that he could operate freely in the 
Dominican Republic.  Images of commando Richardson in custody while in Terre 
Rouje were shown on National Television.  

A few days later residents in Thomazeau later apprehended four men believed 
to be commandos because of their bullet wounds and killed them.

The disabled vehicle, a Toyota double cabin pickup, which had the M2, mounted 
on it was seized by the police.

A police investigation, which traced the license plates of the vehicle, 
revealed that it had been rented from a rental company in Port-au-Prince 
eight days prior.  Through the investigation the police ascertained the name 
of the man who rented the vehicle and determined that he had not reported the 
vehicle stolen. 

The causalities reported by the Police spokesperson as of December 19th were:

5 dead commandos (1 shot by security units when they retook the National 
Palace, 4 killed by population in Thomazeau)

2 dead
6 injured (3 were transported to Cuba for medical attention that is not 
available in Haiti)

1 dead
3 injured

The police are continuing their investigation into who the authors, actors 
and accomplices are.

Guy Phillipe, a former Haitian military and more recently the former police 
chief of Cap Haitien in Haiti, who fled Haiti last year after allegations of 
involvement in plotting a coup d’etat, was arrested in Ecuador and held for 
deportation to Panama, the country from which he entered Ecuador.

Jean-Jacques Nau, a former military and more recently a former police chief 
of the Delmas 33 stationhouse, who along with Guy Phillipe fled Haiti after 
it was alleged that he was involved in plotting a coup d’etat, is being held 
under house arrest in Ecuador.

Former colonel  Guy Francois, who commanded the Caserne Dessalines barracks 
under Prosper Avril, was arrested by the Haitian police.  Francois was 
driving a car with Dominican plates and had been implicated in the attack by 
commando Richardson, who is also in custody.  Francois was presented on 
National Television.  

Commando Richardson made declarations to the press that he had participated 
in prepatory meetings in Santo Domingo to plan the attack and that there were 
25 armed men in the attack.  He said, “It was a coup d'etat.  The plan was to 
enter the National Palace." Commando Richardson stated that he had been 
engaged in planning to oust President Aristide with former Haitian military 
including Guy Phillipe and Gilbert Dragon, a former Haitian military who also 
more recently was the police chief of Croix-des-Bouquets, before fleeing with 
Phillippe and Nau amidst allegations of plotting a coup d'etat.  Commando 
Richardson said that Guy Phillippe had said that Francois would have a backup 
team at the palace during the attack, but none arrived.  Commando Richardson 
admitted that he had also participated in the July 28th attacks on the Police 
Academy and two police stations. -end-

Note:  If you do not wish to receive these emails, please advise me by email. 
 Thank you.