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Rebels Say They Will Arrest Haitian Prime Minister - 2004-03-03


The leader of Haiti's rebel uprising says he is going to arrest Prime Minister Yvon Neptune.

As of late today (Tuesday) Guy Philippe and hundreds of supporters were headed to the prime minister's office in a Port-au-Prince suburb. U-S Marines have taken up positions outside Mr. Neptune's office, and the United States has called on the rebels to lay down their arms.

Earlier today (Tuesday) Mr. Philippe declared himself the nation's military chief, and said he would report only to President Boniface Alexandre. Mr. Alexandre was appointed acting president after former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide fled the country late Sunday. Prime Minister Neptune was an ally of the deposed president.

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said today (Tuesday) that an orderly transfer of power is underway. He said the plan, based on one designed by the Caribbean group CARICOM, is to form a three-way council consisting of Mr. Neptune, opposition leaders and a United Nations representative.

The council would select a 79-member interim government body to choose a Prime Minister and lay the groundwork for new elections.

Mr. Boucher strongly stated that the rebels have no authority, no role in the political process, and and should lay down their arms and disband.

Information for this report is provided by AP and AFP.

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