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28461: Craig (news) Gangs Kill Three Haitian Police, Nine Others (fwd)
From: Dan Craig
June 15, 2006
Gangs Kill Three Haitian Police, Nine Others
Filed at 4:33 p.m. ET
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (Reuters) - Armed gangs have targeted police officers in
a new outbreak of violence that has killed 12 people in Haiti, including three
policemen, in the last five days, a police spokesman said on Thursday.
``These attacks were not carried out at random,'' said police spokesman Frantz
Leurebours. ``The police have particularly been targeted in this increase of
Several other police officers have escaped assassination attempts, he said.
Nearly 100 police officers have been gunned down in Port-au-Prince during the
past 2-1/2 years, police and human rights groups said.
In addition to the three policemen killed, nine residents of Port-au-Prince
were also fatally shot in recent days, police said.
Armed gangs in several violent slums in Port-au-Prince had voluntarily put down
their weapons a few weeks before Haiti's February 7 presidential election to
facilitate the balloting. But gunfire has become more frequent since the
winner, President Rene Preval, was inaugurated on May 14.
Gunmen near the Cite Soleil slum exchanged fire on Wednesday in a fight over
sports equipment and giant television screens offered by a nongovernmental
group to give underprivileged youngsters a chance to watch World Cup soccer
being broadcast from Germany.
It was unclear whether anyone was injured in that incident. Similar gunfights
occurred in Cite Soleil last week.
Police have also reported several kidnappings over the past few days, though
the numbers are well below those seen last year when as many as 10 people a day
were abducted at gunpoint and held for ransom, they said.
A member of the lower house of parliament, Aodont Bien-Aime, escaped a
kidnapping attempt earlier this week but was injured in a car accident as he
tried to outrun armed bandits who were pursuing him.
Police are determined to crack down on criminal gangs, Leurebours said, but it
is a tough job since illegal armed groups have refused to give up their
``The Haitian police, backed by U.N. troops, remain very vigilant, because
armed groups can decide any time to take up weapons again,'' Leurebours said.