The bodies of two men were found in a busy street Wednesday, the apparent victims of rising political violence as Haiti braces for a U.S. invasion.
The men, who appeared to be in their 20s, had been shot and their necks cinched with straps.Their bodies had been dumped near Port-au-Prince's principal black market for gasoline, a major passage point between the Cite Soleil slum and the city center.
Since the 1991 army coup that overthrew President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, many of his supporters have been slain and their bodies left lying in public places as a warning against dissent.
The latest killings followed the shooting Monday of opposition politician Reynold Georges, who has urged army commander Lt. Gen. Raoul Cedras to step down to avoid U.S. military intervention.
Georges survived gunshot wounds in the back and arm and went into hiding at a private medical clinic.
His wife, Marie-Helene Georges, said her husband told her a truckload of uniformed soldiers and armed civilians "machine-gunned his car."
The metropolitan police issued a statement calling her accusation a provocation and demanding an explanation.
A statement by the army-installed government expressed sympathy for Georges and accused "subversive elements" of trying to create a "pretext for invasion."
Haiti, suffering under a worldwide trade embargo, is bracing for an American-led invasion following authorization Sunday by the U.N. Security Council of use of force to restore Aristide.
In another sign it won't tolerate opposition, the military on Tuesday ordered reporters not to broadcast "alarmist and tendentious news." It warned that violators could have their broadcasting stations seized and licenses revoked.
In the past, Haitian reporters have been beaten and radio stations occasionally strafed or ransacked by pro-army gunmen.
Stanley Schrager, the U.S. Embassy spokesman, denounced the media declaration, which came a day after the regime declared a state of siege.
The embassy posted guards Tuesday at a refugee processing center where militias on Monday roughed up Haitians seeking political asylum in the United States.
The Pentagon said it would send helicopters, military scouts and technical experts to the Dominican Republic to help stop smuggling of fuel across the border into Haiti.
Eighteen scouts will be part of an international team of 88 observers that will patrol the border under an accord signed Monday between the United States and the Dominican Republic.