[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
25913: (news) Chamberlain: Haiti-US-Guns (fwd)
From: Greg Chamberlain <GregChamberlain@compuserve.com>
By ALFRED de MONTESQUIOU
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Aug 5 (AP) -- The United States will provide Haitian
police with firearms and tear gas to aid the fight against militants ahead
of elections this fall, the American ambassador said Friday.
The shipment is an exception to the arms embargo that the United States
imposed on the Caribbean nation in 1991, U.S. Ambassador James Foley said.
"Given the state of insecurity in this country, the attempts to create
chaos, we had to do our best to protect the people from the forces of
insecurity and criminality," Foley said.
U.S. officials previously acknowledged giving 2,600 used firearms to the
Haitian National Police last year to help re-equip and professionalize the
Haitian officials have claimed that police are outgunned by gangs and
militants, some of whom are loyal to ousted President Jean-Bertrand
Aristide. Human rights groups, however, have alleged that the force is
corrupt and brutal and responsible for unjustified killings.
Foley did not specify the arrival date for the $1.9 million shipment,
which officials said will include some 3,000 handguns, several hundred
rifles and tear gas.
The United States imposed the embargo in 1991 when Aristide was
overthrown the first time.
Aristide pleaded to have the embargo lifted after 20,000 U.S. troops
returned him to power in 1994. But U.S. officials cited the police force's
links to cocaine trafficking and the slaying of government opponents --
charges still made by human rights groups.
Violence and kidnappings are a constant threat in Haiti, undermining
efforts to organize the elections in October and November to replace the
interim government that was put in place after an armed rebellion toppled
Aristide in February 2004.