Aristide Supporters Report Spate of Shootings, Abductions
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) _ Supporters of ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide on Wednesday reported a spate of attacks and a U.N. envoy pursued efforts to negotiate a return to democracy.
An Aristide supporter was shot and critically wounded Tuesday after he left the downtown hotel where he was hiding, said Jean-Claude Bajeux, a socialist politician. On the same day, gunmen killed a Roman Catholic official in the Aristide stronghold of Les Cayes.
A day earlier, the body of an assistant to Antoine Izmery, Aristide’s chief fund-raiser, was found in Port-au-Prince’s morgue. His head was split open by machete blows, Izmery said. Jean Jaurelien had been kidnapped March 17 after leaving Izmery’s downtown warehouse.
There was no immediate comment from the military-backed government or the army high command, which have ruled Haiti since Aristide’s overthrow in September 1991. Human rights groups have repeatedly accused them of repressing the grass-roots religious, educational and economic development groups that helped make Aristide, a radical Catholic priest, Haiti’s first democratically elected leader.
The reports of attacks came as United Nations envoy Dante Caputo met with military leaders, Aristide supporters and Prime Minister Marc Bazin in diplomatic efforts to return democracy to the hemisphere’s poorest nation.
Identified as critically wounded was Morineau Maxon, a member of the socialist Congress of Democratic Movements Party. Maxon, 25, had been forced to flee his hometown, Les Cayes, and hide in a downtown Port-au-Prince hotel because the provincial military commander had ″been after him,″ Bajeux told The Associated Press.
Maxon, 25, was shot three times in the head while in a car near the hotel, the Holiday Inn, Bajeux said. He was in stable condition Wednesday at the capital’s Canape Vert hospital.
Since July, three other members of Bajeux’s party have been killed and a fourth was kidnapped and presumed dead.
Maxon had been active in the student movement in Les Cayes, which last week staged a pro-Aristide demonstration. International monitors seeking to prevent human rights abuses opened an office earlier this month in the coastal city, 125 miles west of Port-au-Prince.
Hours before Maxon’s shooting, gunmen near Les Cayes killed Yvon Raymond, a lay Catholic official. Raymond, who directed catechism classes, was killed at his home.
On March 18, kidnappers in the capital abducted a Protestant minister, Marcel Potus, and the director of a Protestant religious school, Jeannot Louis-Jean, who were based near Les Cayes. Their bullet-ridden bodies were found late Wednesday in the capital city morgue.