Haiti says soldier died of wounds after shootout with police

International

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — The Haitian Ministry of Defense said Monday that a soldier has died from wounds suffered during an exchange of gunfire with police officers protesting outside army headquarters.

The ministry said another soldier is in stable condition with a bullet wound.

Haitian police officers exchanged gunfire for hours Sunday with soldiers of the newly reconstituted army outside the national palace, in an escalation of protests over police pay and working conditions.

At least three men were taken to a hospital near the shooting with wounds to the legs and feet that did not appear to be life-threatening. Uniformed police officers told an AP journalist that the wounded men were fellow officers. The uniformed officers spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press.

Police protests began this month after a half-dozen officers were fired over their attempt to unionize. The demonstrations are not directly linked to anti-corruption protests that roiled Haiti for most of last year, but they draw on the same widespread dissatisfaction with Haiti’s shrinking economy and President Jovenel Moise’s inability to improve the quality of life.

The Haitian army had been disbanded in 1995 after the fall of a dictatorship that used soldiers to repress domestic opponents. Moise reformed the army in 2017, promising that the military would patrol Haiti’s borders, assist in natural disasters and avoid domestic affairs.

“The Army High Command calls once more for the Haitian National Police to restore calm,” the Defense Ministry statement said.

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