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Haiti police raid village over roadside robberies

September 19, 2013

PETIT-GOAVE, Haiti (AP) — Haitian police raided a coastal town on Wednesday in efforts to quell a string of roadside robberies that have disrupted the flow of merchandise from the capital to the country’s south.

Police Commissioner Charles Francois said that a convoy of specially trained police officers arrested eight people in connection with the holdups that persisted over the course of several weeks. One man was arrested for carrying a revolver without a permit.

Backed by United Nations’ peacekeeping troops, the police made the arrests as part of a two-day police raid in the coastal town of Petit Goave, which is about 42 miles (68 kilometers) southwest of Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital.

The armed group was descending from the hills surrounding Petit Goave and setting up checkpoints. They robbed truck drivers and other motorists along National Route 2, the only highway that connects Port-au-Prince to the southern part of the country. Officials said the bandits also shot at police vehicles. Some residents described a climate of fear that prompted at least a few of them to leave their homes.

As the shakedowns continued, callers to radio shows accused local officials of involvement, a claim the mayor of Petit Goave, Sandra Timoleon, denied in a telephone interview with Associated Press. “The authorities are not involved in this, and we won’t accept gang members creating terror,” she said.

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