PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Police raided a remote village and fired shots as they 
 chased away an armed band led by former soldiers opposed to Haiti’s government,
 an official said Monday.

 No one was injured as police swooped in by helicopter and raided the village of
 Pernal, which had been occupied by about 50 armed men, presidential spokesman  
 Jacques Maurice said. The group fled during Saturday’s raid as police set off  
 grenades, but two men were captured, he said.

 “The soldiers abandoned their uniforms, and took flight after setting fire to  
 the homes they were staying in,” Maurice said. Ten homes were burned,          
 independent Radio Metropole reported.

 The group included about 10 ex-soldiers ? who served in Haiti’s army until it  
 was disbanded by Aristide in 1994 ? and about 40 other men, Maurice said.      
 Previously, officials had said the group was entirely made up of ex-soldiers.

 The government accuses the men of carrying out attacks as they demand the      
 ouster of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. It was unclear what charges the two
 captured civilians might face.

 The group allegedly made its base in Pernal, in the hills outside the town of  
 Belladere, about 60 kilometers (40 miles) northeast of Port-au-Prince.         
 Authorities were searching for those who fled.

 The government accuses members of the group of killing regional justice of the 
 peace Christophe Lozama on Nov. 28. The group also allegedly stormed a police  
 station Dec. 10 and released four prisoners, two of them suspects in the Lozama
 killing. The men killed four people as they fled that day.

 The government has accused the opposition of trying to overthrow Aristide and  
 lending moral support to the armed band. Opposition leaders insist they oppose 

 Joseph Jean-Baptiste, who leads an association of ex-soldiers, said he doubted 
 the official account of the raid and said the government “has staged an event  
 in an attempt to eliminate former soldiers.”

 It wasn’t immediately possible to confirm the government’s account due to the  
 area’s remoteness.

 Since mid-November, tens of thousands have protested in anti-government        
 demonstrations to demand Aristide’s resignation. Police and Aristide’s         
 supporters have intervened, and clashes have left at least three dead and some 
 350 injured.

 The opposition accuses Aristide of incompetence in dealing with problems from  
 poverty to political violence. But the president says he has brought relative  
 peace and has refused to step down before his term ends in 2006.

 Aristide first won the presidency in 1990, but was ousted in a military coup   
 after less than a year and went into exile.

 Restored to power following a 1994 U.S. invasion, Aristide demobilized the     
 Caribbean country’s army and replaced it with a civilian police force.

 Aristide ceded power to chosen successor Rene Preval in 1996, then won a second
 five-year term in 2000. Major opposition parties boycotted the presidential    
 vote due to a dispute over flawed legislative elections earlier that year.

 The dispute has held up hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign aid.

 Aristide now supports holding early legislative elections next year. But the   
 opposition refuses to appoint representatives to an electoral council, saying  
 the government must do more to ensure security and arrest perpetrators of past 
 political violence.