Hostage plan may target priests, nuns Tension mounts in Haiti after Clinton ultimatum

September 16, 1994|By Houston Chronicle

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- The Haitian military may be considering a plan to take Roman Catholic priests and nuns hostage if the United States invades the country, a priest said yesterday.

The military reportedly hopes to use the clerics as bargaining chips for a safe exit from Haiti, said the priest, who asked to remain anonymous.

The priest, who said he is on a military execution list and nightly moves from house to house, said a "source close to high-ranking officials" warned him of the plan Tuesday.

A human rights activist and a Haitian senator, who supports exiled President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, reported that they, too, had heard of the plan. They also requested anonymity.

The priest called the military's reported plan foolish, "because the tradition is never to negotiate with people who take hostages. The whole world would turn against them."

The priest said a warning was sent to all churches and convents, but there is little the clerics can do to prepare.

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