HAITIANS STOP US TROOPS FROM LANDING
PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI — * US troops on a multinational peace mission received a hostile welcome yesterday when their warship was blocked from docking and Embassy personnel were turned away from the port by protesters. The troops are part of a UN effort to reform Haiti's military and return exiled President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to power.
About 200 military engineers, medics, and civil affairs specialists were ready to disembark from the USS Harlan County on the latest US overseas military mission. Another US warship is to arrive on Oct. 20, carrying hundreds more troops on what the Pentagon describes as a noncombat, humanitarian mission.
Fr. Aristide, the elected president who was ousted two years ago by members of the military, is widely popular among Haiti's poor masses. But he is despised by many in the Army, and some soldiers have vowed to kill him if he returns.
Beleaguered civilian Prime Minister Robert Malval, leading Haiti's democratic transition, says the mission has the support of most Haitians and in no way could be construed as a military occupation force.
But rightist attorney Mirelle Durocher Bertain, reflecting the views of some in the military, told the Associated Press: ``The normal reaction of a Haitian citizen is that we don't like this occupation because we consider it an intervention. I don't think a `technical' mission needs M-16 assault rifles.''