May 13 - Pleas by Haiti's president to armed groups of former and aspiring soldiers to disband are falling on deaf ears. Paul Chapman reports.
These are some of the thousands of armed former and aspiring soldiers who want Haiti's army restored. The country's military was disbanded in 1995 after a series of coups. Former members still in military uniform now occupy government buildings and makeshift camps in defiance of government orders to leave. Haiti's president says he wants a new Haitian army but the renegade troops aren't helping. SOUNDBITE: HAITIAN PRESIDENT MICHEL MARTELLY SAYING (Creole): "When the demobilised military arbitrarily entered and illegally occupied spaces around the country, dressed in green and carrying weapons, they created confusion. This was never what Martelly said. They should have let me move on with the idea but today, where are we? My plan's been hurt." U.N troops and Haitian police have set up check points and two armed men in military fatigues have already been arrested. But the former soldiers see the crack down as provocation and insist they won't disband. SOUNDBITE: SELF-DECLARED SERGEANT YVES JEUDI SAYING (Creole): "We're going nowhere because President Martelly has something to say to us. He's still our president (THIS MAN SAYS). It's not right for President Martelly to ask a foreign army to shoot at us, the people's children. We're not hiding because the entire population is waiting for the president's declaration." Haiti badly needs political stability but is still struggling to recover from a massive earthquake two years ago. International aid donors and human rights campaigners say they fear the return of the armed forces could be divisive and take vital resources from more pressing projects. Paul Chapman, Reuters