PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haitian police and U.N.
troops moved into a slum that has become a flashpoint for unrest
yesterday morning, using bulldozers to remove a barricade of
torched cars that had blocked traffic in the capital.
One Haitian policeman was shot and killed, apparently in early
resistance that ended when scores of Brazilian troops moved in
behind 10 armored cars with mounted submachine guns.
A police officer at the scene said at least two
“bandits” also were killed and several civilians were
wounded. That information could not be confirmed by late
The chant of hymns wafted from church services and a U.N.
helicopter roared overhead as the operation got under way in Bel
Air, a poor neighborhood full of supporters of ousted President
The crackdown came two days after the government said it would
root out gangs that have blockaded areas of certain neighborhoods.
Bel Air residents accuse police of attacking them without cause and
making illegal arrests.
Haiti’s capital has been convulsed by violence since
police shot and killed two protesters at a Sept. 30 march to demand
the return of Aristide, who went into exile amid an armed revolt in
February. At least 56 people have been killed, including the
officer shot Sunday.
The operation began at 5 a.m. and continued into the afternoon,
the first during the unrest to last several hours. Previous
incursions into the neighborhood were brief because police
A bulldozer pushed burnt-out cars down Rue Macajoux to the
Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, where front loaders lifted
them into garbage trucks. Graffiti scrawled across a church wall
called for the return of Aristide.
Peacekeepers used a sledgehammer to knock down the second-story
wall of a corner building used by snipers, said Gen. Americo
Salvador, commander of the Brazilian brigade that is leading the
U.N. mission to stabilize Haiti.
Police Commissioner Jean-Brice Ralph said his men detained two
unarmed men “because they are known bandits.”
At the top of Rue Macajoux, a group of young men jeered at
“All we want is to have President Aristide
returned,” said Aristide Carlo, a 20-year-old student.
“The police accuse us of terrorism, but it is they who are
Human rights lawyer Renan Hedouville said Sunday that his
organization has received reports of women and young girls being
raped in many of the troubled areas in Port-au-Prince, especially
Bel Air. Many of the reports involve former Haitian soldiers who
helped oust Aristide, he said.
Besides the Brazilian troops, about 100 police officers from
Benin, Canada, France and Spain took part in the operation.
Daniel Moskaluk, a spokesman for an international police force
training Haitian officers, said Jordanian and Haitian riot police
would remain in the neighborhood. He said his group would help set
up a permanent Haitian police station.