Haitian president urged to control ex-soldiers

By REUTERS
April 1, 2012 05:34

PORT-AU-PRINCE - A Haitian government panel has urged the president to appoint an interim commander to take charge of former soldiers, a panel member said on Saturday, as the leader of a successful 2004 uprising warned that ex-members of the military could seize power.

Several thousand former members of the military that was disbanded in 1995 by then-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide after a series of coups, have occupied government buildings and former army camps, defying injunctions from the government to leave.

They are often seen armed and in military uniforms in the streets and sometimes even directing traffic, fueling concerns of instability in a nation still struggling to recover from a catastrophic 2010 earthquake.

A panel appointed by President Michel Martelly to study reviving the military recommended in a report that he appoint a provisional army high command to deal with thousands of former soldiers and young, armed volunteers who want the army restored, said George Michel, a well-known doctor and historian who is on the panel.


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