French Minister Attacked, Rebels Take Haitian Town

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (Reuters) – A gang chased a French minister out of a Haitian slum under gunfire on Monday, while former soldiers who helped oust President Jean-Bertrand Aristide took control of a southern town and defied U.N. forces to remove them.

One French gendarme was wounded and a French diplomatic source said he saw at least one person killed in the attack.

The reminders of the impoverished Caribbean country’s chronic instability came six months after Aristide, regarded as a champion of the poor, was driven out by an armed revolt and U.S. and French pressure amid allegations of despotism and corruption.

The French diplomatic source said the country’s junior foreign minister, Renaud Muselier, had to be bustled out of the Cite Soleil slum in Port-au-Prince after his entourage was attacked by rock-throwing youths.

When Haitian police fired into the air, gang members pulled out shotguns, pistols and other weapons and shot at the visitors, who had been planning to visit a hospital in the slum that still seethes with anger over Aristide’s departure.

“We are very surprised that we came under attack when we went to help the hospital,” the source, who asked not to be identified, told Reuters.

The violence in the capital, where most of a 2,755-strong U.N. peacekeeping force is on patrol, came after a weekend of trouble in the south that bore echoes of the revolt against Aristide.

Ex-soldiers from the army Aristide disbanded in 1995 attacked a police station in Petit-Goave, 40 miles south of the capital and proclaimed themselves in charge of security.

Full Article: Reuters

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