December 19, 2001

Dominican troops guard border after Haiti coup

SANTO DOMINGO (Reuters) --The Dominican Republic government has mobilized
thousands of troops to guard the border with Haiti after the apparent coup attempt
there, its senior military official said on Wednesday.

The soldiers will attempt to stop any coup plotters who might try to flee over the

Armed Forces Minister Lieutenant General Jose Miguel Soto Jimenez said troops
were posted along a 70 km (45 mile) stretch of the frontier which divides the
Caribbean island of Hispaniola between the two countries.

Nine people were believed to have been killed in Monday morning's coup attempt and
ensuing violence, when about 30 gunmen stormed the presidential palace in

Security forces loyal to President Jean Bertrand Aristide repulsed them in a gun
battle, killing one and arresting several.

Haiti's ambassador in Santo Domingo, Edwin Paraison, told the Dominican
government he believed 12 to 15 people implicated in the action were trying to reach
Dominican territory.

After two incidents earlier this year, anti-Aristide figures have sought refuge in the
Dominican Republic. Soto Jimenez said that his country had not been used to plan
any action against the Haitian government.

Rumors circulated in Port-au-Prince after the coup bid that Dominican soldiers were
among the attackers but there was no confirmation of that and Haiti analysts said
any official Dominican involvement was highly unlikely.

The two countries have long been rivals and treat each other with suspicion but
official relations have improved in recent years.

    Copyright 2001 Reuters