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Haiti Gunmen Shoot at Home of Top Police Official’s Mother

July 4, 1996

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) _ Gunmen shot at the home of a top police official’s mother early Thursday. No one was hurt in what appeared to be an attempt at intimidation.

Six police officers have been shot and killed since April 27, in what the government says is a plot to destabilize Haiti’s fledgling democracy.

Automatic gunfire struck the home of Lucien Manuel, mother of Robert Manuel, justice undersecretary in charge of public security, around 3 a.m.

Mrs. Manuel confirmed the attack on her home, near the police station in suburban Petionville. She refused further comment, but a domestic worker said several bullets struck a wall inside the house.

Police spokesmen could not be reached for comment.

Manuel, who does not live with his mother, is in charge of Haiti’s inexperienced and underequipped police force, including its training and operation.

The 5,300-member civilian national police was founded in February 1995 to replace the military who seized power in 1991 and ruled by terror for three years until U.S. troops invaded Haiti. As many as 4,000 civilians were killed under military rule.

Police officers from the United States, Canada and France helped train Haiti’s police, who have been widely criticized for incompetence and excessive use of force.