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Haiti's Aristide Faces Apparent Coup Attempt

HEAVY gunfire pelted the modest home of Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in an apparent military-coup attempt before dawn on Monday, a government minister said.Shooting was heard throughout the city beginning after midnight, and residents in several neighborhoods said the gunfire came from armed men in jeeps. At dawn, Information Minister Marie Lassegue went on the radio with only sketchy information about what was happening. State-run radio reported a number of people wounded. "Many people are shooting on the president's house at this moment, and I thought it was my obligation to inform the people of Haiti," said Ms. Lassegue. She gave no details, but implied that the shooting was by the same soldiers who earlier kidnapped the director of the state-run radio. Soldiers with the Leopard training camp in Port-au-Prince were suspected of plotting the takeover, a Western diplomat said. The plot seemed an effort to thwart Aristide's plan to dissolve the Army unit, the diplomat said. Aristide was elected on his campaign promises of wiping out the vestiges of the 29-year Duvalier family rule. Alarmed residents took to the streets early Monday. Last January, a spontaneous demonstration ended a coup attempt led by the leader of the paramilitary Tonton Macoutes.

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