PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — More than 100 additional people have been deported to Haiti from neighboring Dominican Republic after an elderly Dominican couple was killed, a spokesman for a Haitian migrant advocacy group said Monday.
The number of Haitians and people of Haitian descent who’ve been expelled has reached 354, said Josue Michel, a spokesman for the Group for Repatriates and Refugees. Authorities had reported at least 244 people expelled as of Sunday.
The expulsions follow violence that engulfed the town of Neiba in the southwestern corner of the Dominican Republic. The couple was slain last week during an apparent burglary near the border between the two countries and a Dominican mob retaliated by killing a Haitian man.
Migrant advocates say many of the deported people went to a police station seeking refuge, and that some of them volunteered to leave the country because they feared being victims of mob violence. Others left because the Dominican authorities rounded them up in the streets, migrant advocates added.
Dominican police issued a statement saying the people weren’t expelled from the country, but rather went to the police station because they feared reprisals and asked authorities to escort them to the border so they could cross it themselves.
There have been no additional reports of people being killed in Neiba.
Haiti and the Dominican Republic have had a long and volatile relationship as neighbors on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola.
The Dominican Republic was among the first countries to respond after the devastating 2010 earthquake in the Haitian capital, and has helped with reconstruction by securing contracts on major infrastructure projects since then. But relations between the two have soured since September when a Dominican court threatened to revoke citizenship for residents of the Dominican Republic of Haitian descent, which could affect 200,000 people.
The Dominican government announced last week that it has developed a plan to resolve the legal status of people who could lose their citizenship because of the ruling. Details are to be released once a decree is signed and takes effect in the coming days.
Caribbean leaders will hold a special emergency meeting in Trinidad on Tuesday to discuss the Dominican court ruling and issue a response to the move. St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves has been an outspoken critic of the ruling and will attend the special session of the Caribbean Community. Haitian President Michel Martelly is also expected to be there.
(AP Photo: Haitian deported from Dominican Republic wait to board a bus to be taken to their hometowns at a shelter in Croix-des-Bouquets, Haiti)