Published on January 21, 2015 by Joe Colas (author)
Haiti Police Chief, Godson Orelus
Cap-Haitien, Jan. 20 (HCNN) — Haitian police authorities said on Tuesday that a politically motivated armed group in the northern part of Haiti vows to attack government targets, while the Caribbean country’s leader strives to solve a political impasse marked by a series of anti-government street protests.
The Haitian police Chief in the northern region, Monès Auguste, said that the police are tracking an armed gang that openly revealed their intent to use their weapons against the administration of president Martelly they wish to overthrow.
“They blocked last week the road near the town of Milot and chanted slogans hostile to the government, as they dispossessed passengers of their belongings,” police Commissioner Auguste told HCNN on Tuesday.
“They were in possession of Uzi and 9mm pistols and they said they would block the road until Martelly has resigned,” said Auguste.
Haitian police clashed with a dozen of members of the armed gang during a crackdown, in their stronghold near the northern town of Milot last Thursday, that resulted in one killed and one wounded on the side of the armed individuals.
“When we conducted the operation on Thursday, they shot at us and we returned fire and one gang man was killed and another one wounded,” said Auguste explaining that the wounded was taken to the hospital for treatment.
The wounded — Charlie Jean-Baptiste, in her late 20s — has been arrested last week and presented before a judge on Tuesday. The one killed, Dukens Monfrère AKA Ti Blan, was the gang leader.
Auguste said the police is now tracking the armed individuals who are on the run, but they still represent a risk for the population because they carry weapons.
Former Senator, Jean-Charles Moise, who is a fierce opponent of president Martelly, described the crackdown — conducted last week by the police, on the armed gang in Milot — as a tactic to persecute the local population or political opponents of the government.
Critics of Moise have accused the former senator of holding close links with the armed individuals who operate in Milot, the town Moise managed in the past years as a mayor. Moise, who is one of the top opposition leaders, has denied any involvement with the armed groups.
Police authorities say the armed gang has been searching passengers, confiscating money and weapons found on them to strengthen their group.
During street protests in the capital Port-au-Prince, several demonstrators from slum areas are often caught on record expressing their intent to take up weapons in their efforts to overthrow the government. However, opposition march organizers often insist that their movement is peaceful.
Haitian authorities and moderate opposition parties have been negotiating a solution to a deep political crisis that threatens the stability of the country where crucial and long-delayed legislative and local elections are set to take place in the next several months. A presidential ballot is also scheduled for October to elect the successor of Martelly whose term ends in Feb. 2016.
Government officials announced that a new provisional electoral council, tasked with organizing the ballot, will be appointed within the coming days. Several sectors of the society entitled to designate a representative to the 9-member council have already done so.
Prime minister Evans Paul and President Martelly, who installed on Monday the new consensus government, have called on cabinet members to avoid using public resources and privileges to achieve partisan political goals, as the country prepares to double efforts to hold the elections.