| 24 July 2024, Wednesday |

Dominican Republic boosts border security as tensions with Haiti simmer

The Dominican Republic announced on Tuesday that it will increase security along its northern border with Haiti, following what it called a “provocation” in which a group of Haitians allegedly entered Dominican territory and interfered with an army patrol.

Homero Figueroa, a Dominican government spokeswoman, stated on the messaging platform X that while the situation had not escalated, the army would boost the number of soldiers and vehicles patrolling the area as a precaution.

“The situation seems to be due to an apparent misunderstanding by Haitian citizens regarding the border limits that separate both countries,” said Figueroa, adding that the Dominican Army “has full authority to patrol this area.”

Disputing the Dominican government line, Haitian media reported that Dominican soldiers had crossed the border into Haiti and pointed guns at locals.

Unverified videos shared on social media showed a helicopter circling the border while Haitian and Dominican soldiers stood near a border wall and a burned tire exuded a column of black smoke.

“The Dominican government considers this action as a provocation with the aim of generating a conflict with unpredictable consequences,” Figueroa said.

Jean-Junior Joseph, a spokesperson for the Haitian government, said both countries’ foreign ministers had spoken and agreed every effort should be made to calm the situation.

“We prefer the path of dialogue and consultation,” Joseph said.

In recent months, Santo Domingo has reinforced its border security and migrant deportations amid worsening gang violence in Haiti, and in mid-September announced a complete border shutdown due to the construction of a canal from a shared river.

Dominican authorities recently built a border wall inside the country’s territory, leaving a strip of land to the west for patrols, which has led to misunderstandings on the exact border on both sides.

The incident on Tuesday occurred days after Dominican President Luis Abinader met U.S. President Joe Biden at the White House, where they discussed the security situation in Haiti.

  • Reuters