Four slain Haiti police buried, ex-soldiers sought

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Four slain Haiti police buried, ex-soldiers sought

Post by admin » Thu Feb 17, 2005 8:45 am

ReutersFour slain Haiti police buried, ex-soldiers sought
By Joseph Guyler Delva

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Haiti on Wednesday held a state funeral for four policemen who authorities say were slain by ex-soldiers linked to fugitive self-styled military leader Remissainthe Ravix.

Police said they had arrested one former soldier in connection with the killings and were offering a reward for the capture of two others including Ravix himself.

The officers died on Feb. 6 in Port-au-Prince, where violence between foes and allies of ex-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide continues to simmer nearly a year after his ouster.

Haitian National Police spokeswoman Jessie Coicou told around 200 mourners, "This crime won't go unpunished.

"The state has the m
onopoly on violence and the law must prevail," she said as several police officers broke into tears. Interim Prime Minister Gerard Latortue attended the church service.

Coicou said a former soldier identified as Eric Pierre-Louis was arrested on Sunday in possession of a revolver belonging to one of the dead policemen.

He had been trying to sell the weapon, which he received from another former soldier, Rene Jean Anthony, who reported to Ravix, she said.

Coicou said the government was offering a $7,000 reward for information leading to the capture of Ravix and Anthony.

Ravix, who has taken refuge in a village near Haiti's border with the Dominican Republic, denied the accusations against his men.

"I and my men have nothing to do with the killings," Ravix said by cell phone. "The government is made up of traitors. They praised us when we took up weapons to get rid of Aristide. Now that they are in power, th
ey want to get rid of us."

Previously pitted mainly against street gangs still loyal to Aristide's Lavalas Family party, the police are now also increasingly confronting the disbanded soldiers who helped lead the armed revolt that drove Aristide from power last Feb. 29.

Latortue once hailed the soldiers and other anti-Aristide gunmen as "freedom fighters," and this year his government began to pay them some of the 10-years back pay they demand.

But relations have frayed over the soldiers' demands for the re-establishment of the army, which Aristide disbanded a decade ago.

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