Haitian president urged to control ex-soldiers

PORT-AU-PRINCE, (Reuters) – A Haitian government panel has urged the president to appoint an interim commander to take charge of former soldiers, a panel member said on Saturday, as the leader of a successful 2004 uprising warned that ex-members of the military could seize power.

Guy Philippe

Several thousand former members of the military that was disbanded in 1995 by then-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide after a series of coups, have occupied government buildings and former army camps, defying injunctions from the government to leave.

They are often seen armed and in military uniforms in the streets and sometimes even directing traffic, fueling concerns of instability in a nation still struggling to recover from a catastrophic 2010 earthquake.

A panel appointed by President Michel Martelly to study reviving the military recommended in a report that he appoint a provisional army high command to deal with thousands of former soldiers and young, armed volunteers who want the army restored, said George Michel, a well-known doctor and historian who is on the panel.

The report was submitted in late December but has not been made public.

“If there is a high command, all those who claim they are part of the military will have to comply with orders from their superiors,” said Michel, who estimated the number of former soldiers and recruits at 15,000 and growing.

“Otherwise, even from their own point of view, they would not be able to continue to claim that they are members of the army.”

More than two dozen of those former soldiers and new recruits, many armed and some in combat positions, accompanied Guy Philippe, who led the rebellion that toppled Aristide in 2004 and forced him into exile, as he gave a live interview on Radio Caraibes, Haiti’s most popular station.

Aristide returned to Haiti a year ago.

“The warning I could send is that before long those groups will reach 30,000 men and any general that could emerge as their leader could take over power,” Philippe told Reuters after the interview.

He urged Martelly to accept the commission’s recommendations and appoint an interim high commander to take charge of them.

“They have weapons, they are trained and if they become a loose army, no one will be able to control them,” Philippe said.

Martelly supports the idea of reconstituting the army but has called on the ex-soldiers to put down their weapons and vacate the camps until the government makes a decision.

Comments  

Fears of dam collapse add to Puerto Rico’s misery after hurricane

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (Reuters) – Puerto Rico’s governor met with mayors from around the ravaged island on Saturday after surveying damage to an earthen dam in the northwestern part of the US territory that was threatening to collapse from flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

Iran tests new missile after US criticises arms programme

DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran said on Saturday it had successfully tested a new ballistic missile with a range of 2,000 km (1,200 miles) and would keep developing its arsenal despite US pressure to stop.

Florida court orders Duprey to pay US$60 M

(Trinidad Express) Former executive chairman of CL Financial Lawrence Duprey was ordered by a Florida judge in July to pay more than US$60 million to British American Insurance Company (BAICO) in damages in relation to the TT$1.9 billion Green Island project in Osceola County, Florida.

Hurricane Maria leaves 13 dead in Puerto Rico, churns toward Turks and Caicos

  Residents working on their roof in badly damaged neighborhood are seen from a Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey surveying the aftermath from Hurricane Maria in St.

Mexico focuses search for quake survivors on 10 buildings; 273 dead

MEXICO CITY,  (Reuters) – Rescuers swarmed over rubble with shovels and picks yesterday in a frantic search for survivors two days after Mexico’s deadliest earthquake in a generation, focusing on 10 collapsed buildings where people may still be alive.

Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly.

We built stabroeknews.com using new technology. This makes our website faster, more feature rich and easier to use for 95% of our readers.
Unfortunately, your browser does not support some of these technologies. Click the button below and choose a modern browser to receive our intended user experience.

Update my browser now

×