December 17, 2001

Armed men storm Haiti National Palace

                 PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) -- A small group of heavily armed men broke
                 into the National Palace and opened fire early Monday, the minister of
                 culture and communication said.

                 Minister Guy Paul said he did not know if anyone was injured in the break-in and
                 shooting, which occurred around 2 a.m. (0700 GMT) Monday. He said he did not
                 know the motive.

                 Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and his wife were unharmed, and sleeping
                 at their suburban Tabarre home, Paul said.

                 The National Palace, a presidential mansion downtown, is protected by hundreds of

                 A government communique that aired early Monday on Radio Caraibes called on
                 Haitians to "block the way, on top and at the bottom" to anyone who wants to
                 destabilize the government.

                  Copyright 2001 The Associated Press.