In the hours before dawn on Mon., May 16, 2016, heavily
armed assailants, dressed in green and camouflage army
uniforms, attacked the main police station in Aux Cayes,
Haiti’s third largest city. The toll was heavy. One
policeman and four attackers were killed, and several
were wounded on both sides.
At the station, the attackers killed police
officer Tisson Jean Pierre, assigned to the Departmental
Unit for the Maintenance of Order (UDMO), police said.
Another policeman, Wendy Dorléan, was seriously
wounded and rushed to the hospital. Officer Pierre
Jeannot and an agent of the National Penitentiary
Administration (APENA) were slightly wounded. Other
police officers were handcuffed and brutalized inside
the police station. The assailants sacked the office of
the station’s chief and hauled off heavy weapons,
fleeing towards the town of Pestel, where paramilitary
chieftain and Senate candidate Guy Philippe has holed up
Meanwhile, among the attackers, four were killed
and three wounded. One of the attackers died in the
shooting at the station, and three others in an accident
on the road back to Pestel.
The Haitian National Police (PNH) arrested three
of the attackers after the accident, one of them named
Rémy Théléus, who later died. In an interview widely
circulated on social media, Théléus admits to
journalists that he and his confederates were under the
command of Guy Philippe, who led the so-called “rebels”
that helped overthrow former President Jean-Bertrand
Aristide in 2004.
According to Théléus, Philippe’s paramilitary
commandos aim to take over police stations around Haiti
in order to create havoc and overthrow the provisional
president, Jocelerme Privert. Monday’s attack was the
opening salvo in a campaign that aspires to spread
across the country.
In Haiti’s north, Daniel Marcel, who goes under
the name of Commander Moïse, has made provocative
declarations, saying that his soldiers are preparing to
attack all the police stations in that department.
After the bloody attack, Aux Cayes was paralyzed
with schools remaining closed all day. In the capital,
the Superior Council of the National Police (CSPN) met
hurriedly with President Jocelerme Privert at the Prime
Minister's office to deal with the crisis. According to
a PNH spokesman, the police now control of the Southern
Department, but they have not yet arrested Guy Philippe.
The armed attack comes two days before May 18,
the 213th anniversary of the Haitian flag. The
paramilitaries are also preparing to sabotage the annual
Flag Day commemoration in the town of Arcahaie, where
the 1803 meeting between independence war Generals
Jean-Jacques Dessalines and Alexandre Pétion took place.
The “rebel” force which Guy Philippe commanded in
2003-2004 carried out several attacks, including a Dec.
17, 2001 assault on the National Palace. Accused of
complicity in the assault was one of the Palace’s former
security chiefs, Youri Latortue, who is now a
questionably elected Senator heading, ironically, a
commission investigating corruption. Latortue and
Philippe remain close political allies.
Since leading his small band of “rebels” into
Port-au-Prince following the Washington-backed Feb. 29,
2004 kidnapping/coup d’état against Aristide, Philippe
has taken refuge in the small seaside town of Pestel, in
the Grand Anse department. He remains wanted by the U.S.
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for drug
trafficking, having eluded two raids over the past 12
years to capture him.