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Nigeria Offers Temporary Asylum to Exiled Haitian

March 23, 2004|From Associated Press

ABUJA, Nigeria — Nigeria has agreed to a request by Caribbean leaders to grant former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide temporary asylum, Nigerian presidential spokeswoman Remi Oyo said Monday.

A statement issued by Oyo said the request came from the 15-nation Caribbean Community, known as Caricom. It did not say whether Aristide had requested -- or agreed to -- asylum in Nigeria.

Caricom sought to find Aristide asylum "for a few weeks until his movement to another destination," said the presidential statement, issued in the capital, Abuja.

Aristide fled Haiti on Feb. 29 as rebels were closing in on the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince. He arrived in the Central African Republic on March 1 and stayed there with his wife and two bodyguards until March 15, when he flew to Jamaica to be with his two daughters.

Interim Haitian Prime Minister Gerard Latortue, the United States and others have criticized Jamaica for accepting Aristide, saying his presence in the Caribbean region would raise tensions in Haiti.

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