Originally: Body of Haiti Fugitive Leader Found

Body of Haiti Fugitive Leader Found

30 minutes ago

By MICHAEL NORTON, Associated Press Writer

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – The bullet-riddled body of Amiot Metayer has been found, more than a year after he escaped from prison and allegedly went on a rampage terrorizing government opponents.


Metayer, 39, a longtime supporter of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and leader of the so-called “Cannibal Army,” was found Monday night. He was shot once through each eye and once through the heart, Daniel Jean-Charles, the central government’s representative, said Tuesday.

A passer-by found Metayer outside St. Marc, on the west coast, and his body was taken to his hometown of Gonaives after family members identified him.

“He is better off dead,” said opposition leader and former Sen. Paul Denis. “The government he worked for had no interest in having him appear before a court of justice to answer for his crimes.”

Metayer was arrested on arson charges on May 21, 2002, in connection with an alleged attack on a rival gang in Gonaives. He broke out of prison in August 2002 with help from supporters.

Authorities failed to recapture Metayer, saying they did not want to raid his seaside shantytown stronghold of Raboteau and risk sparking a violent confrontation. Witnesses said Metayer and the Cannibal Army spent months burning down houses and assaulting Aristide opponents.

In November, seven journalists went into hiding after members of the group allegedly attacked a radio station.

According to an Organization of American States report, Metayer had also participated in other attacks on Aristide’s opponents, including a Dec. 17 assault on the residence of politician Luc Mesadieu in Gonaives.

Mesadieu’s assistant, Ramy Daran, was doused with gasoline and burned to death. Mesadieu said he saw Metayer giving the order to kill Daran. At least 20 houses were torched.

In May of 2003, a judge withdrew Metayer’s arrest warrant, saying there were no grounds for the arson case against him.

A judge and a prosecutor who worked on the case fled to the United States, saying they feared for their safety after refusing to comply with what they said was government pressure to drop the charges against Metayer.