Massacre at Soccer Field in Haiti

September 4, 2005

by Tom Luce with AUMOHD investigators (reprinted from Haitian Information Project)

Dredging up fearsome memories of days thought to have gone by forever, eyewitnesses here in Port-Au-Prince have portrayed an unbelievable massacre-by-machete/hatchet rampage by red-shirted killers, backed up by the Haitian National Police (PNH), of up to 50 victims on Aug. 21 at a soccer field in Gran Ravin-Martissant. This summary, extra-legal execution follows similar type massacres in Bel Air and Solino earlier this month.

This time the killings were done in plain daylight in front of and involving 5000 soccer fans, an incredibly bold assault by Haitian police and their civilian accomplices in the presence of troops from MINUSTAH. As has been the case this entire past year, the "targets" in Saturday's massacre, were all identified as "bandits", "Lavalas" scum (Rat pa caca).

Eyewitnesses described to a group of human rights agents today this super TV drama styled event. As fans were being entertained during one of the breaks in the soccer game -- highly attended because national league players had joined the local teams -- a group of police and men wearing red t-shirts and head bands entered the playing field and took over the microphone from the announcer. The people in the crowd at first thought that this was a friendly show of security by the police. But that idea was immediately dashed when the red shirt announcer stopped the music being played by the DJ and then demanded everyone to lay on the ground. A shot was fired into the air and people began a panicked response. Some tried to run away, some tried scaling the walls to escape and several of these were shot. Others tried running into the adjoining rooms of the stadium and later were found hacked to death. The red shirts, backed up by the police, began demanding specific individuals lying on the ground if they were affiliated with Aristide, asking for confirmation from others whether these people were "bandits". Then without mercy these red shirts either hacked their victims to death or hacked them and then had their victims shot by the police. According to eyewitnesses and the family members of the victims interviewed today, the victims of the executioners were innocent people and were attacked only because they were allegedly Lavalas supporters.

The red shirts were equipped with machetes and hatchets that were distributed, according to witnesses, by the police at the Martissant police station. These same civilians who appeared in red shirts and head bands at the soccer game, armed with machetes, were recognized by people in the area as the same people who at least a month previously were thrown out of the area as trouble makers among whom were some prison escapees and thieves. Some of these executioners were named by witnesses: Georges Jean Yves, Gérard, aka, Gwo l'Ombril (Big Belly Button), ...lifet aka TÍte Calé (Shaved Head), Ti Clody, Rudy, JoÎl, Eddy, Apoupann aka Colonel, Ronald Toussaint, Kiki , Rocky Rambo, and Cliska. The chief of police of Martissant was also implicated in the operation by the witnesses and according to the witnesses threatened to come after them and "wipe them out the next day."

On Sunday, Aug. 21 the same red shirts, accompanied by the police, invaded residential areas and burned more than four houses alleged to be inhabited by Lavalas supporters. They also severely damaged an electricity transformer in the area. They also damaged several other houses.