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a523: Haitian police arrest alleged kidnappers (fwd)
From: Greg Chamberlain <GregChamberlain@compuserve.com>
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Two policemen and 12 other
people suspected of involvement in a kidnapping ring that has terrorized
Haiti's wealthier inhabitants for months have been arrested, authorities
said on Tuesday.
Haitian National Police Judicial Director Francois Jeannot presented
two of the suspects, Tolem Cadet and Dieudonne Jean Robert, to reporters,
saying they were members of the national police force as well as
participants in the criminal gang.
They had been arrested with twelve other alleged members of the ring
in the capital, Port-au-Prince, he said.
The kidnapping problem reached a peak when the gang seized the young
children of a prominent businessman last November in the capital.
The children were eventually released unharmed after the father paid a
multimillion-dollar ransom, but coming as it did after a half dozen such
crimes, public exasperation grew to the boiling point over their
"We have found that this is a very complex, very sophisticated
enterprise that affects the entire country," Jeannot said of the gang,
which carried out kidnappings for ransom money, rather than for any
Jeannot also said the gang had been using buildings under construction
in the Port-au-Prince suburb of Delmas to sequester their victims and
cautioned homeowners and builders in the neighborhood to be vigilant
against the criminals.
President Jean-Bertrand Aristide launched what he called a "zero
tolerance" policy against violent criminals last year in an effort to
combat the country's endemic lawlessness. The policy has drawn criticism
from international and domestic human rights organizations, which charge
that it encourages police brutality.
Jeannot said earlier this month that the "zero tolerance" policy