Date: Thu, 24 Jun 1999 12:55:20 -0500 (CDT)
From: Haiti Progres <HAITI-PROGRES@prodigy.net>
Organization: Haiti Progres
Subject: This Week in Haiti 17:14 6/23/99
This Week in Haiti,
Poste Marchand got its name from a small police post that used to be there. But now the neighborhood, which straddles Avenue John Brown (Lalue) near downtown Port-au-Prince, has been overrun by criminals, known as zenglendo. And the police are nowhere to be found... except sometimes among the thieves.
At least that is what residents of Poste Marchand say. The area has been virtually taken over by gunmen on four different occasions over the past month.
The zenglendo swept through on May 19 and May 21, robbing shops, houses, pedestrians and motorists indiscriminately. Then on May 27, eighteen armed men sealed off two streets. Working systematically in two groups, they robbed 20 homes. Every resident or passer-by they encountered was frisked for money and jewelry. They stole about $300 from a small boutique, raped a woman, and shot a young man in the foot. All this during a leisurely two hours.
Again on Jun. 15, starting about 6 p.m., seven zenglendo occupied the area, especially Impasse Lumiere. Those with guns fired them in the air, as they robbed over 15 homes taking every television or radio they found. They also cleaned out small merchants selling rice and beans or fried plantain as well as one pharmacy's receipts for the day. That operation lasted four hours before the police came and the zenglendo, as usual, got away.
I've had it, said one victim, an older man who like his
neighbors did not want to be identified because he feared the
criminals, some of whom live nearby, might carry out reprisals.
of us in this neighborhood are fed up with these thieves who come and
rob us and endanger our lives... Myself, my wife, and our seven
children, we are going to have to leave Poste Marchand.
Many of the thieves Ti Luc, Pouchon, Ti Loulou, Polo, Patatou are known to area residents. The gunmen use 9 millimeter and black .38 caliber revolvers, identical to those issued to the police, and some are current or former cops, residents say.
The victims also blame road construction around Rue Pouplard for the
It has been over 9 months since they tore up the road but
never fixed it, complained one resident.
Now the zenglendo are
more at ease since there aren't as many people, cars, and buses
While Port-au-Prince police chief Jean-Cols Rameau remains in jail as the government investigates charges that he executed 11 men in cold blood on May 28 (see Haiti Progres, Vol. 17, No. 12, 6/9/99), other police chiefs around Haiti are also showing danger signs.
Take the case of Paul Antoine Sauvignon, Police chief for the Southeastern department. At 11 p.m. on the night of May 20, he led 15 policemen in an assault on a the home of Charite Jean, a peasant from Savane Dubois near the coastal town of Marigot. The policemen were looking for cocaine that former Justice of the Peace Jean Jeudi had supposedly given to Charite. After beating Charite, the police ransacked his house but found no drugs. However, they did take a small sum of money which Charite had hidden in his mattress.
What is most curious is that the policemen Sauvignon was leading were from the Delmas headquarters in Port-au-Prince, about 40 kilometers out of their jurisdiction. Charite adamantly declares his innocence and has filed charges against Sauvignon in Jacmel, the department seat.
Another case is that of Ralph Fethiere, police chief of the northern
city of Cap Haitien. Since Jun. 11, Judge Prince Osias has issued a
warrant for Fethiere's arrest in connection with the assault and
battery last November of Sauveur Joseph, 50, the driver of the bus
Dignite du Cap. Fethiere has ignored several court subpoenas
already issued in the case.
Many other people have filed complaints against Fethiere, a former Haitian Army officer, for illegal arrests and beatings in Cap Haitien and surrounding towns like Vertieres and Limbe. There are rumors that other authorities have threatened Judge Osias with dismissal for issuing the arrest warrant for Fethiere.