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a 144: Dominican officials hunt alleged Haiti plotter (fwd)

From: Greg Chamberlain <GregChamberlain@compuserve.com>

     SANTO DOMINGO, Dec 26 (Reuters) - Dominican authorities searched on
Wednesday for alleged Haiti coup plotter Guy Philippe, who entered the
Dominican Republic after being thrown out of Ecuador, officials said.
     Philippe, a former police chief, had been barred from the Dominican
Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti. But he managed
to enter on Tuesday night, said General Fernando Cruz Mendez, director of
the National Department of Investigations (DNI).
     "We are searching intensely throughout national territory," he said.
     The official who allowed Philippe into the country had been arrested,
Cruz Mendez added.
     Philippe has denied any involvement with the Dec. 17 attack on the
presidential palace in Port-au-Prince, which Haitian authorities have
called an attempted coup against President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. At least
13 people were killed in the attack and resulting mob violence.
     Philippe later showed up in Ecuador. The government there said it
would deport him to Panama, the last country he visited before Ecuador.
Dominican President Hipolito Mejia said he would not be granted political
asylum in the Dominican Republic.
     Haitian authorities have said Philippe led the plot involving former
members of Haiti's disbanded army.
     Opposition politicians called the assault last week an act of
"theater" staged as a pretext for the repression of opposition parties,
media and civil rights groups, but stopped short of directly accusing the
     The army was abolished after the 1994 U.S. military invasion which
ended a military dictatorship and restored Aristide to power.
     Aristide won a second term in office last year but unrest in the
poorest country in the Americas has been growing.