SANTO DOMINGO – A total of 600 soldiers will be deployed in the next few days along the Dominican Republic’s border with Haiti to bolster security, the Dominican army said.
The troops will reinforce security forces assigned to the border, the army said, adding that it is “joining forces with the other official institutions that operate in the area to deal with the ills that are a constant threat in the region.”
The 600 soldiers will be deployed from the northwestern province of Montecristi to the southwestern province of Pedernales, army chief Maj. Gen. Joaquin Virgilio Perez Feliz said in a statement released over the weekend.
The soldiers are completing their training to join units on the border, “which is where the Dominican Republic begins,” the general said.
The National Police announced recently that it was sending 117 officers to the border with Haiti on 15-day assignments aimed at “putting into practice the knowledge acquired” in training.
The armed forces, which are in charge of security along the border, also plan to establish a permanent military presence in border towns that have large populations of illegal Haitian immigrants.
Soldiers and their families will be sent to live in these communities, which have been abandoned by Dominican citizens, the army said.
Dominican officials estimate that around 1 million Haitians live in the country, most of them illegal immigrants who work in agriculture and construction.
The Dominican Republic and Haiti share the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, with Haiti in the western portion. Though both countries are poor, Haiti is destitute, and Haitians cross the border to do work that many Dominicans will not do, such as harvesting sugar cane.
Haitians have been the target of mob violence numerous times in recent years, and the Dominican government has been widely criticized for its treatment of the migrants. EFE