Haiti: Lavalas Militant Samba Boukman Shot Dead
- Friday, March 09, 2012 3:54 PM
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (defend.ht) - A Lavalas militant and former presidential representative of the Commission for Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (CNDDR) under Rene Preval, Samba Boukman, was shot dead in the afternoon of Friday, March 9, 2012 in Delmas 95, by unknown gunmen.
Samba Boukman whose real name is Jean-Baptiste Jean-Philippe was killed in the neighborhood of Delmas 95 near the school attended by his young child.
Local residents suspect individuals aboard two motorcycles and a pickup truck, that were seen in the area before the attack, as the assailants.
Jean-Philippe was hit by 7 bullets according to several reports.
A Controversial Character
To some, Jean-Baptiste Jean-Philippe was a powerful gang leader, and remained so even after becoming former President Rene Preval's representative on the Commission for Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration.
To others, Jean-Philippe was a fighter for democracy, as part of a community of Aristide-loyalists that resided in the poorer districts of Port-au-Prince, namely Bel-Air.
The man they called Samba Boukman was arrested in 2005 by the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) for the illegal possession of firearms. This was during the time of a massive disarmament campaign by the UN stabilization forces who were also known to arrest persons, even those who voluntarily surrendered their weapons.
Boukman was released without any form of judicial process, after spending one night in MINUSTAH's base in Tabarre. It is said that after this incident he became partner with the efforts to disarm bandits in the poor districts.
While Jean-Philippe, a member of the CNDDR, is credited for his role in ending the brutal "Operation Baghdad", some credit him as the architect of the operation.
"Samba Boukman had a disturbing reputation of using rape as a weapon of political combat," according to the National Network for the Defense of Human Rights (RNDDH).
In October of 2011, Alix Bien-Aime, the current President of the CNDDR, wrote a letter to President Michel Martelly alleging to have received death threats from Boukman.
The National Commission for Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration presents his compliments and has the advantage of you with a copy of the letter to the Prime Minister seeking his support in connection with the confiscation of vehicles of the Commission, and threats death made against me and against Mr. Emmanuel F. Goutier, the representative of MICT to the Commission, by Jean-Baptiste Jean-Philippe, Commissioner, Representative of the Presidency.
Confident that you will make the necessary corrective actions and the Commission please, Mr. President, to receive his highest regards.
Alix Bien-Aime, President
Supporters of Boukman have begun to point to President Michel Martelly, who has been at opposites with Lavalas for decades, as the author of Jean-Baptiste Jean-Philippe's murder.
Jean-Philippe's death comes at a time when Lavalas is making a noticeable resurgence, organizing protests and marches on the order of thousands of people.
Insecurity has been on the rise with 20 murders in the capital already in the month of March - some victims have been public personalities.
The Haitian National Police have relaunched Operation Baghdad, version 2, to try to bring the city back to relative peace but the MINUSTAH head, Mariano Fernandez, recently said in a meeting in Washington, D.C., that the current state of affairs - of political instability - will make that difficult.