Dominican Republic boosts border security as Haiti tensions simmer

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PORT-AU-PRINCE – The Dominican Republic said on Tuesday it will beef up security at its northern border with Haiti, following an incident it labeled a “provocation” in which it said a group of Haitians entered Dominican territory and interfered with the army patrol.

Dominican government spokesperson Homero Figueroa said on messaging platform X that the situation fortunately had not escalated, but the army would as a preventive measure increase the number of soldiers and vehicles patrolling in the area.

“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 stand near a border wall and a burned tire exudes a column of black smoke.

A spokesperson for the Haitian government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“The Dominican government considers this action as a provocation with the aim of generating a conflict with unpredictable consequences,” Figueroa 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 its territory leaving a strip of land to the west for patrols, which has led to misunderstandings on the exact border on both sides.

Tuesday’s incident comes 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

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