RealNews

Gangs, Looters Roam Haiti's Capital

City Tense as Rebels Approach. Armed pro-government gangs roamed the streets of this capital on Friday, and thugs looted businesses and hijacked cars, forcing residents to stay in their homes in anticipation of a threatened assault by rebels who have vowed to capture or kill President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. There was a marked deterioration of security throughout the city of about 1.3 million people, three weeks into an armed insurgency that reportedly was moving toward the capital. In Washington, the Pentagon was considering sending 2,200 U.S. Marines to stand by off the coast as a precaution, officials said. The U.S. government sent 50 Marines earlier this week to protect the U.S. Embassy and its staff. In a sharp escalation of diplomatic language by the U.S. government, the U.S. Embassy here issued a statement Friday night saying that armed groups had “begun to burn, pillage and kill” and “are spreading terror and attacking civilians and the general population and are acting in the name of Jean-Bertrand Aristide.” The statement called on him to “stop this blind violence.” Full Story

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