Haitian National Police Headquarters in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Feb. 19, 2019. (Photo: Arthur Jean Pierre)
Haitian National Police Headquarters in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Feb. 19, 2019. (Photo: Arthur Jean Pierre)

The U.S. embassy in Haiti has confirmed the arrest of U.S. citizens in Haiti Sunday and told VOA's Creole Service that it is seeking consular access for the detainees as soon as possible.

“We understand that the Haitian National Police detained a group of individuals, including some U.S. citizens,” the statement said. “When U.S. citizens are arrested overseas, we seek consular access as soon as possible and provide appropriate consular assistance as provided by the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.”

The embassy statement indicated it would not comment further on the case.

Haitian National Police spokesman, Michel Ange Lou
Haitian National Police spokesman, Michel Ange Louis-Jeune talks to VOA Creole in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Feb. 19, 2019. (Photo: Arthur Jean Pierre)

In an interview Monday with VOA Creole, Haitian National Police (PNH) spokesperson Michel-Ange Louis-Jeune said the men were arrested during a “routine check” on Sunday afternoon and that among the detained were a Haitian national, two Serbs and five Americans.

“In the three vehicles the police confiscated, we found weapons, assault rifles and pistols. The police subsequently arrested them,” the spokesman said. He said police are investigating to see who else may be involved. (*See original interview in Creole here)

There has been concern among Haitian officials that the group had a plan to be rolled out under the cover of the massive protests and looting that rocked the capital for 10 consecutive days and resulted in at least seven deaths.

“We don’t want to jeopardize the investigation,” Louis-Jeune told VOA Creole. “So, we are not going to say too much about what we know. The investigation is continuing, and we will make more announcements in the days to come.”

The spokesman did say the men were being questioned about where they got the weapons and what they were intending to do with them. He said the nation can expect transparency about their findings.

VOA Creole service's Arthur Jean-Pierre contributed to this report in Port-au-Prince.

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