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GARR / English Categories  / News  / Headlines  / Haitian-Dominican Relations  / GARR’s report about the incident at Savann Bonm (Cornillon / Grand Bois) and retaliation against Haitians in Descubierta (RD)
© GARR, 2011

GARR’s report about the incident at Savann Bonm (Cornillon / Grand Bois) and retaliation against Haitians in Descubierta (RD)

 After several reports about the murder of haitians in retaliation for the death of a Dominican citizen in the area of Savann Bonm, district of Cornillon / Grand-Bois, ¹ a delegation led by the Support Group for Refugees and Returnees ( GARR) visited the scene, Sunday, November 13, 2011, to investigate what had happened. The delegation held talks with the people in the area and the authorities of both countries, including the Mayor of the Municipality of Cornillon / Grand-Bois, police officers in town and Dominicans soldiers.


In Port-au-Prince, a team formed also by the platform GARR, started meetings on Sunday, 13, to interview three members of Gaset (Action Group for the Protection of the Environment and Tourism), an organization based in the town of Cornillon / Grand-Bois, whose members in Port-au-Prince were in touch with the people of this town soon after the outbreak of incidents. On November 13, the delegation accompanied by the deputy Lamarre Baptiste, the mayor, Alix Bien-Aimé, other local authorities and relatives of victims, met with soldiers that belong to the Dominican area. The information gathered from various sources allowed the GARR to establish the facts that led to incidents and to take a partial stock.

Thes facts

According to reports, Wednesday, November 9th, 2011 at about 4 o’clock pm, Daniel Diaz Montero, dominican citizen, was hit by a bullet fired by Denis Lozamard, a haitian better known under the name of “Salmane”. Transported to dominicain territory, Daniel Montero passed away at about 9am pm while his relatives were trying to take him to the hospital.

The incident occurred in the market Savann Bonm, a border village of Boucan Bois Pin, First District Section of Cornillon / Grand-Bois. The dominican reached was a trader who had a habit of regular attendance at this market, which takes place every Wednesday between Haitians and Dominicans. As for Salmane, he is recognized in the area as an assistant police, a kind of informant of the National Police of Haiti (PNH).

Testimonies agree on the fact that the killing was unintentional. The dominican citizen held good relations with its neighbours and, as witnesses say, he tried to calm things down during a confrontation with a knife which opposed, according to some, a group of haitians each other, and according to others, a group of haitians against dominicans, after a game of dominoes. The delegation heard the following testimony of a police officer in the area of Cornillon / Grand-Bois.

« To calm things down, named Salmane was involved with a 9 mm. He drew and fired into the air. It seems that when he put the gun down, another shot was fired and the projectile has reached the appointed Diaz back,” said the policeman at GARR.

According to a police officer assigned to the Commissioner of Cornillon/Grand Bois which repeats stories that have been reported, when his family provided transportation to the hospital, the victim had defended the Haitian peasants based in Cacique, a dominican town not far from Savannah Bonm. « Farmers have nothing to do. Do not turn them in retaliation. I was attacked by a bandit named Salmane. » Daniel Montero Diaz reportedly said. However, following the incident, Haitians who were in the surrounding communities in dominican territory, were attacked by relatives of the deceased Dominican. Several Haitian nationals have been killed and some by strangulation, others were injured and taken to hospital and others are missing.

As for Salmane, accused of shooting the ball that reached the dominican, he fled. A justice of the town, Jonathan Meriland accompanied by agents of the National Police, made a house search in the aftermath of this serious incident. Two arrest warrants were issued against him.

Review of incidents

The information collected allows the GARR to take stock as follows :

a) The murdered

In addition to the Dominican who succumbed to his gunshot wound, all accounts agree on the names of three Haitians whose bodies were seen in dominican territory. But only one body was transported to the border and handed over to parents.

On Wednesday, November 16, 2011, two (2) other unidentified bodies were found near the barracks of Cacique. Witnesses report that they began to enter into putrefaction.

Here are the names of several witnesses confirm that they were killed :

Anil Dejoie, 22, who worked as a farmer in territory dominican died by strangulation, according to testimony from his relatives. “He was found neck tied to a tree. His torturers used the jacket he was wearing and his belt to commit their crime. They abandoned his body on a wasteland, » the victim’s cousin, Jean Francois Maurice said to the delegation of GARR. This is the only body that has been transported to Haiti. The funeral of Anil Dejoie were sung, Saturday, November 12, 2011, in Cornillon / Grand Bois, shortly after the dominican authorities had handed over the body to their counterparts in Haiti, said the mayor’s main town, Alix Bien-Aimé.

Known as Dieubon (there’s no more information until deadline). According to information provided by the authorities of Cornillon / Grand Bois, « Dieubon also died by strangulation and his body was seen by several people. He was killed while he was gone for his beef across the border. Her attackers have passed a rope around his neck and strangled him, » the Mayor of Cornillon / Grand-Bois said.

Gabriel Michel died after he was targeted by Dominicans while preparing to go get his cattle to Bartolome, on the other side of the border. Father of six children and 39 years old, the farmer practiced sharecropping system for 20 years, sharing spaces with the home of a landowner called Guay. And it is through him that his relatives were informed of the news of the murder of a farmer whose body was buried in dominicain territory. « Noting that the horse of Gabriel came home without his master, which is extremely rare, Guay was eager to run in search of the farmer. And then the animal led to Gabriel’s body lying on the border between Casuca (Dominican Republic) and Maroso (Haiti). The landowner dominican appealed to a justice for the legal findings and went on to sing the funeral of the deceased, » reported a cousin of Gabriel Michel at GARR.

According to rumours, many more Haitians were executed at several dominican locations in the surrounding area from Savannah Bonm up to Descubierta, locality where the deceased was born. However, since it is difficult to reach the scene, so far, nobody has been able to provide accurate information to confirm these allegations. Attempts of the Haitian delegation to visit Descubierta and Cacique, where several cases of murder were reported were unsuccessful. Since the event, the Dominican soldiers banned to Haitians to go to the other side, for safety, they say.

b) The injured

A report by a representative of the Jesuit Service for Refugees and Migrants (SJRM), Leon Florian, reported three injuries observed in a hospital in Barahona. Two of the injured are : Cael Bellevue, 49 year-old from Mathurin, a town near Savann Bonm and Bernard Baptiste, 29, known in the Dominican Republic under the name of Julio Cesar, a native of Terre Froide (District of Fond -Verrettes). The two men were assaulted in Descubierta (RD), on the night of November 9, 2011. They were brought to the Haitian- dominican border of Malpasse, on friday, November 18, 2011, by representatives of the Haitian Consulate in Barahona which has been transferred to a delegation of Gaset came to greet them. Upon arrival, the survivors wore both signs of injuries all over the body and a large bandage in the abdomen. According to information collected by GARR, they were sliced open and each one had to undergo surgery at hospital in Barahona. Given their health still faltering, they were taken to a hospital in the capital to continue to receive care.

c) Missing Persons

Many people are missing and would have taken cover, according to testimonies collected on site with their parents. On Thursday 17 and Friday, November 18, 2011, about a hundred people arrived in the town of Savanne Bonm fleeing the dominicain territory. Some are from the area, others come from different regions. These are people who were put under cover since Wednesday, November 9 and tried to return to their home, more than eight days later. Their unexpected arrival has created a humanitarian situation in the area.

Consequences of the incident at Savann Bonm

Following the incidents, some tension prevailed in the area and economic exchanges are paralyzed at a time when we approach the harvest of pigeon peas, a product that Haitians generally sell at that time the DR market. In addition, many Haitian peasants need to recover their cattle located in surrounding Dominican communities, because usually it is in neighbouring territory they will graze their animals. At the end of the meeting held on Sunday 13 November, between the haitian delegation and the Dominican soldiers, they are committed to ensuring the safety of Haitians in the area and help them recover their livestock. It should be emphasized here that some Haitian nationals began on the morning of Sunday 13, with the help of the dominicans soldiers, to actually retrieve their cattle.

What happened in this border point between 9 and 12 November 2011, highlights several issues that deserve attention.

  1. Lack of protection of the Haitian people moving to the Dominican Republic, especially the poorer working in this country. Every incident involving a Haitian, there are Dominicans who decide to blindly attack anyone suspected of being a Haitian in revenge.
  2. The absence of state authorities in border points where trade takes place between the large populations of both countries. There are just 9 policemen serving the town of Cornillon/Grand Bois, with an area of 223 square kilometers and the population estimated at more than 50.000 inhabitants. Police officers are settled at the police station located in the village of Cornillon / Grand Bois to five hours of walking and two hours of vehicle from the place of the event.
  3. The presence of armed civilians in remote areas that are accepted by both the population by the authorities.

Faced with this worrying situation, often repeated at the border, the GARR urges the Haitian authorities to fulfill their mission of guaranteeing the right to life and security of their citizens. In this perspective, it makes the following proposals :

In the short term :

  1. Provide assistance to local authorities so that they can cope with the humanitarian situation in Cornillon / Grand-Bois after the incident.
  2. Ensure medical monitoring of victims who are in hospital.
  3. Further investigations to determine the exact number of Haitians who have been victims.
  4. Help farmers to recover their livestock left in dominican territory.
  5. Make every effort to apprehend the named Salmane which is at the root of the incident and lead him in court. This will give a clear signal to the Dominicans of the will of the Haitian government not to tolerate impunity.
  6. Ask the dominican authorities to take steps to stop attacks against Haitian nationals who are in their territory. Ask them to apprehend those who take the law themselves by attacking any person identified as Haitian national.
  7. Taken in conjunction with DR authorities, measures to ensure the resumption of trade in this border, whose activities depend on people on both sides.
  8. Stop immediately the use of armed civilians to solve problems of control of territory and security of certain areas.

In the medium term :

  1. Strengthen state presence in the two border markets that take place in two sections of the town of Cornillon/Grandbois. It should be a permanent presence not only police but also other agents such as City Hall and so on.
  2. Strengthen the presence of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the areas south of the border where there are many exchanges between Haitians and Dominicans, by installing a consulate in Jimani that can respond more quickly to certain situations. Otherwise, to have appendices of this consulate and agents who regularly visit these markets.
  3. Promotion in the border area of peaceful mechanisms of conflict management and the creation of organizations that promote and defend human rights and friendliness between the two peoples through the implementation of a set of activities.

Port-au-Prince, November 19, 2011.

Report prepared by the Executive Office of the GARR

Colette Lespinasse


The delegation was composed as follows : Me Altes Octave / Section Human Rights and Migration / GARR ; Fouchard Bertho / Administration GARR ; Jacklin Jean Paul / Head of Communication/ Project « Towards a culture of human rights and peaceful coexistence on the border between Haiti and Dominican Republic » .


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