PORT-AU-PRINCE : Haitian police took back control of the northern city of Saint-Marc, after rebels trying to overthrow President Jean Bertrand Aristide overran 10 towns and cities, leaving at least 41 people dead.

Police forces backed by helicopters on Monday recaptured Saint-Marc, a city of 160,000 located 96 KM north of here, after gun battles left at least one dead, according to police and witnesses.

Saint-Marc is located on the strategic road that links Port-au-Prince to Gonaives , the first city to fall after the Revolutionary Artibonite Resistance Front (RARF) launched their insurrection Thursday.

Shootings, vandalism and looting erupted in several cities as police fought to quash the uprisings. Northern cities have run out of power and fuel.

At least 41 people have died since fighting began, according to local journalists, residents, and hospitals.

Haitian Prime Minister Yvon Neptune, who visited Saint-Marc after the police operation, has linked the uprising to a coup attempt. 

Opposition leader Andre Apaid late Monday blamed Aristide for the violence, calling him a “troubling human being … a dictator and a despot.” 

 Despite the police victory in Saint-Marc, RARF rebels remained in control of nine towns and cities and the northern Artibonite province