Interview with Police Inspector-General Michael Lucius. July 10, 2006.
Unlike Friday, July 7, we were able to leave our homes today, residents of the Martissant neighborhood told AlterPresse on Saturday. I personally saw several dozen people covered in blood, a resident of this neighborhood told AlterPresse. AlterPresse added that a young man lost his sister-in-law and two nephews, according to a barber who reported the presence of various troublemakers in Carrefour-Feuilles, including deportees who draw their guns all the time. Let us listen now to DCPJ Inspector-General Michael Lucius who will give us more explanations on these confrontations and the measures taken by the police:
“What happened in Martissant is really disgusting, given that bandits – fearing neither God nor man – are causing so many casualties among the civilian population. One of the things we recall is that these bandits, in particular the first pieces of information we have about the groups which carried out the attacks on the civilian population of Gran Ravin are individuals for whom arrest warrants have been issued for their involvement in previous killings. We are taking every appropriate measure to ensure that these wanted bandits are tried and so that calm can reign among the people of Gran Ravin.”
“What is the toll so far?”
“The toll in Gran Ravin so far is that, based on the information received by investigators of the Criminal Affairs Brigade, the intervention team we sent there, and some Judicial Information Office analysts, about 20 people have been killed and five others wounded by gunfire. We will determine the circumstances in which these people were killed or wounded. Some of the dead were killed by bullets whereas others were killed with blades. So, the forensic police will work with the IML, the Forensic Institute, so that post mortem examinations can be carried out on all these bodies to determine and possibly remove the bullets which are in the bodies. They are also looking for the weapons for ballistic studies and so that they can bring the bandits to court with supporting evidence.”
“Have the police already carried out operations in these areas?”
“Several operations have been carried out in these areas. However, this is not easy because, as you know, the first pieces of information we have report that there is a merging of what is called the Little Machetes Army based in 5th Avenue Bolosse and some Nan Tibwa bandits who have actively been sought by the police for a very long time in Gran Ravin.
“It is this conflict that has apparently caused all these deaths. So, it is a fight for control. It is a gang fight for control of a neighborhood and this has caused so many casualties, as I just told you, among the civilian population. Children, women and men who have so far been identified as people who have nothing to do with the armed conflict are among the victims. By the way, it is a kind of ambush.There were shootings in the area at about 1 a.m. At about five, the men were making noise and were calling on everybody to get up while saying, “The Little Machetes Army has invaded us.” They slaughtered the people as they were leaving.”
“But we know that at some point MINUSTAH (U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti) was present there. Is MINUSTAH still present in this area?”
“I cannot speak on this subject. The only thing I know is that a MINUSTAH contingent is present in the area and that it is also an extremely difficult area where penetration by MINUSTAH troops is difficult. It is not an area accessible to conventional police operations. So, the men benefit from the inaccessibility of these areas. There are so many problems, because the men benefit from the configuration of the areas, from the yards where they can hide, and also the overcrowding in these areas, which allows them to hide weapons and makes the situation really difficult for the police.”
“It has also been reported that there is an exodus in the sense that residents are leaving the area.”
“This is obvious. It is obvious that honest citizens, people who do not have any means of defence at their disposal given the way their homes are built, who do not have any kind of security may try to leave the area and shelter from other possible attacks if there are other attacks. But measures are being taken so that calm can be restored. As the head of the police already said, measures are being taken jointly between the police and MINUSTAH so at least an apparent calm can be reached in the area and so that we can possibly track down bandits who are wanted by the police.”