U.S. Marines Kill Two in Haiti

Anger grew over the U.S.-led peacekeeping operation as relatives grieved for two people shot by U.S. Marines. A delegation of American officials was set to accompany exiled President Jean-Bertrand Aristide (searchto Jamaica.

Aristide, in exile in the Central African Republic (searchsince Feb. 29, was to fly to Jamaica on Monday to be reunited with his daughters, who stayed in New York during the upheaval. He has claimed he was forced out by the U.S. government.

A delegation of American and Jamaican officials — including Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif. — left Miami Saturday night in a chartered jet to pick him up. The flight was expected to land in the Central African Republic on Sunday afternoon.

Haiti's new prime minister, Gerard Latortue (search), has warned that Aristide's return to the region would only increase tension in Haiti and said he would not meet with the ousted leader.

U.S. Ambassador to Haiti James Foley said Saturday that "Jamaican authorities are certainly taking on a risk and a responsibility" by accepting Aristide.

Meanwhile, Marines (searchsaid the two men killed late Friday during a patrol were gunmen who had previously fired on the Marines, although their weapons were never recovered. Witnesses said the dead were bystanders.

"The Marines have very strict engagements of a target," Maj. Richard Crusan said. "Did they hit other people? I doubt it."

Relatives of 18-year-old Frantzy Louis wailed and hugged each other at his tin shack home in Belair. Looking at pictures of him, they said he wouldn't have been holding a gun.

"He was playing basketball when the Americans and the French began firing," said Louis' brother, 24-year-old Rudy. "He wasn't political. All he did was study and play basketball."

Residents identified the other victim as Dread Pasteur, 29, and said it was possible more than two people were killed in the gunbattle.

Several people also were injured in Friday's gunbattle. One was Evans Dubuisson, 17, who said he was shot in the side after crossing the street to buy candles for his family.

Residents said it was the first time they had seen the U.S. troops enter the gritty neighborhood, blocks away from the National Palace, at night. Since Aristide left the country, residents here haven't had electricity or water, and trash piles have reached heights of more than 10 feet.

Also Saturday, gunfire broke out in the seaside slum of Cite Soleil. Residents said the fight began when two gangs began arguing over a shipment of donated rice and flour. At least one man and two children were wounded, witnesses said.

The sprawling shantytown is a pro-Aristide stronghold where tensions persist between some of its several gangs. Crowds ran from the streets as the gunfire erupted, then emerged again as young men with pistols and rifles sped off in pickups to investigate. Police rarely venture into the slum, and some gang leaders say they are trying to keep the peace.

Initially the Marines and French peacekeepers were sent to secure key sites and provide security. Their mission has changed, however, and now they are working with Haitian police to disarm the general population. U.S. troops have shot and killed at least six Haitians in the past week.

The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Richard Myers, arrived Saturday to get a closer look at the operation.

He visited U.S. troops at their barracks, shaking hands with Marines. But he did not talk with Haitian officials.

At a news conference, he said: "As far as Aristide's return to the region is concerned, if that increases the violence here, then that would be extremely unhelpful."

He said the United States would not take sides in Haiti, but warned the Marines had the right to defend themselves.

Aristide claims he is still the legitimate leader of Haiti, and that the U.S. government forced him out. U.S. officials say Aristide asked for help and that they saved his life by arranging his departure aboard a U.S.-chartered aircraft during a bloody rebellion.

Also Saturday, 10 Dominicans taken hostage by Haitians along the two countries' border were freed after the Dominican government released a Haitian investigated for the killing of two Dominican soldiers.

The two Dominican soldiers were killed Feb. 14 as Haitian militants living in the Dominican Republic crossed the border to join the rebellion in Haiti.