Originally: Haitian Thuggery Revived, Rights Group Charges


   PORT-AU-PRINCE, Aug 20 (AP) — A human rights group on Wednesday accused

Haitian authorities of using police auxiliaries to intimidate the public

and discourage opposition to the government of President Jean-Bertrand


   The special brigades of auxiliaries commit robberies, rapes and murder

and create a climate of fear that is reminiscent of past dictatorships in

the impoverished Caribbean nation, according to an 11-page report by the

National Coalition for Haitian Rights.

   “If something is not done, Haiti risks being turned into a bandit

state,” said a spokeswoman for the group, Marie-Yolene Gilles.

   The report follows months of allegations by government opponents, human

rights groups and the U.S. State Department that police have aided armed

supporters of Aristide in disrupting opposition protests and meetings.

   The government denied the report’s findings, calling it a “partisan”


   “There are no police auxiliaries,” government spokesman Mario Dupuy

said, adding that rights group the National Coalition for Haitian Rights

was “attempting to destabilize the government by undermining the morale of

the police.”

   The auxiliaries sometimes wear uniform, use weapons and vehicles

provided by authorities or carry official identification, the report said.

   The report called the agents a “revised, corrected, and augmented” form

of the dreaded Tonton Macoute militia used during the 29-year Duvalier

family dictatorship that ended with the 1986 ouster of Jean-Claude


   In 1994, U.S. troops restored Aristide to office, and dismantled the

army that had ousted him three years earlier. Aristide deployed a civilian

police force in 1995, but many members have since been accused of brutality

and drug trafficking.

   The government and opposition had been in a stalemate since Aristide’s

Lavalas Family party swept 2000 elections that observers said were flawed.