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24783: Haiti Progres (pub) This Week in Haiti 23 # 5 4/13/2005
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* THIS WEEK IN HAITI *
April 13 - 19, 2005
Vol. 23, No. 5
UN TROOPS AND HAITIAN POLICE KILL TWO PROMINENT FORMER SOLDIERS AFTER
On the afternoon of April 5, automatic gunfire echoed from various
corners of Port-au-Prince - Delmas, Poste-Marchand, Sans-Fil, Nazon,
Turgeau, Bois-Verna - creating a general panic throughout the city. At
least two people were killed and several others wounded, according to
the Haitian National Police (PNH).
In addition to the official death toll, a reporter from the Haiti Press
Network reported having seen the body of a school child at Delmas 19.
Other witnesses say that armed men on foot opened fire on pedestrians on
Nazon. The day before, heavily armed men shot and killed police officer
Wilfrid Dumorenay from the Carrefour police station at Portail Léogâne,
according to witnesses.
Authorities in the United Nations Mission to Stabilize Haiti (MINUSTAH)
and the de facto government suspected that two former soldiers, who both
had one million gourdes (US$27,000) bounties on their heads, were behind
the operations. One was Rémissainthe Ravix, a former corporal who had
been expelled from the Haitian Armed Forces (FAdH) in 1993 but was among
the "rebels" who waged a three-year guerrilla war from the Dominican
Republic against Haiti's constitutional government and helped overthrow
elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide on Feb. 29, 2004. Ravix had
proclaimed himself, and was generally recognized as, the leader of Haiti
's former soldiers, who have been demanding resurrection of the Haitian
Armed Forces (FAdH), dissolved by Aristide in 1995, and 10 years of back
The other was Jean René Anthony, alias Grenn Sonnen, who had served in
the Leopards, an elite U.S.-trained counter-insurgency corps formed in
the late 1970s to protect the dictatorship of President-for-Life
Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier. Despite such ominous credentials, he
became a police "consultant" under the Aristide and in late 2003 and
early 2004 traveled to Hinche and GonaVves to fight the "rebels" on
behalf of the constitutional government.
However, after the coup, he continued to work with the police until he
alleged they stole four of his cars (which they alleged he had stolen).
When they did not respond to his radio appeals for return of the
vehicles, he switched from police collaborator to police nemesis.
Soon he was in an alliance with Ravix, and the two were believed to be
behind the killing of four policemen on the Airport Road and a
spectacular prison break, both carried out in February. Despite the
rewards on their heads, both men spoke regularly on Haitian radio
But the MINUSTAH, under pressure from Washington, had declared that it
was going to launch a counter-offensive and put an end to the challenge
that leaders like Ravix and Sonnen posed to the de facto government. On
April 9, police clashed in Delmas with a group of armed men which
included Ravix. In the battle, he was killed along with three of his
men. PNH spokeswoman Jessie Cameau Coicou announced the arrest of 18
others following this police operation, carried out in concert with the
MINUSTAH. Weapons and three vehicles were also seized, she said.
Responding to rumors that Ravix was ambushed, Daniel Moskaluk, the
MINUSTAH's Civpol spokesman, said that Ravix was killed while shooting
at police and UN troops from behind a tree. "From 7 to 10 p.m. [on April
8], armed men created panic in several parts of the capital," he said.
"Joint patrols were organized following these incidents and were led to
a house where there were former soldiers."
The director general of the PNH, Léon Charles said: "We pursued them
from Delmas 75 to Delmas 30, where they were killed." Following the
death of Ravix, Charles said that the police had taken measure, in
coordination with the MINUSTAH, to secure the main arteries of the
capital in case of reprisals from the former FAdH. "We have information
on the movement of ex-soldier partisans towards the capital," Charles
said. "We are in the process of assembling our troops."
On Radio Arc-en-Ciel, Himmler Rébu, the leader of GREH (Grand Assembly
for the Evolution of Haiti) and an ex-colonel in the Leopards, said he
was shocked at how Ravix had been killed. He claimed that Ravix and the
de facto government were in a process of dialogue. Rébu had offered on
April 2 on Radio CaraVbes to act as a mediator between the de facto
government and Ravix to resolve their bitter feud.
Grenn Sonnen had been wounded in the April 9 battle which killed Ravix,
according to Coicou. Indeed, in his last radio declaration after the
April 9 confrontation, many listeners remarked that Sonnen had lost much
of his usual bluster.
The next day, another police operation cornered Grenn Sonnen near the
Visa Lodge on the Airport Road. He and two of his men were killed in a
gunfight with the police.
The bullet-riddled bodies were taken to the morgue at the General
Hospital where those of Ravix and his men were under heavy police guard.
Journalists noted that Sonnen was practically decapitated.
The weekend's police and MINUSTAH counter-offensive also comes after
bold attacks on April 7 against the bourgeoisie's posh Caribbean
Supermarket at Delmas 95 and against a UN bus, in which one was wounded.
Last month, three MINUSTAH soldiers were killed in confrontations with
soldiers in Petit Goâve and Hinche.
LETTER OF FANMI LAVALAS TO THE UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL
On April 8, the Fanmi Lavalas party of Haitian President Jean-Bertrand
Aristide sent a letter to the United Nations Security Council, which is
dispatching a delegation to Haiti from April 13th to 16th.
"Fanmi Lavalas wants to take advantage of this opportunity to express
its deepest concerns for all the Haitian people facing the unacceptable
inhumane treatments and ongoing violation of their human rights in their
own country and to protest the present conditions in Haiti," the letter
Signed by Maryse Narcisse, Mario Dupuy, Bell Angelot and Jonas Petit,
who make up the party's Communications Commission, the letter presents
numerous press reports detailing the de facto government's on-going
crackdown in Haiti. "Repression in Haiti has reached unthinkable and
inhuman levels," the letter reads. "Those who are the most vulnerable
are those who are persecuted and killed. People from poor neighborhoods
and specially supporters of Lavalas are being targeted for military
interventions because they are poor. The well-being of the entire
Haitian population, even those opposed to Lavalas, is threatened because
these current conditions are not conducive to any kind of sustainable
The letter made six demands: the cessation of political persecution
directed towards Fanmi Lavalas members and supporters; the liberation of
all political prisoners; the end of illegal arrests and summary
executions; the effective disarmament of groups and/or individuals
illegally armed; the restoration of the constitutional order in Haiti by
the physical return of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide; and the
organization of free, honest and democratic general elections in Haiti.
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