Coup Attempt Fails in Haiti; 40 Die in Riots
A short-lived attempt to seize power by the reputed chief torturer of the Duvalier regime was put down by the Haitian army Monday.
The abortive coup d’etat by followers of Roger Lafontant touched off the worst mob rampages in Haiti’s bloody recent history, leaving a reported 40 people dead, many of them lynched in rings of burning rubber tires.
Most of the victims appeared to be followers of Lafontant, who was interior minister under dictator Jean-Claude (Baby Doc) Duvalier. Lafontant seized the presidential palace Sunday night, declared himself president and held provisional President Ertha Pascal Trouillot hostage for 12 hours.
The brief takeover attempt ended Monday morning when a regular Haitian army unit stormed the palace, arrested Lafontant and a dozen associates and freed Trouillot unharmed.