Rebels respond to internet plea

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“I heard the United States asked our men to stop their advance to Port-au-Prince,” he said.

Asked if the United States had directly contacted the rebels, he said no, that he was acting on information he had read on the internet.

Philippe, a former assistant police chief for north Haiti who fled coup-plotting charges in 2000, often checks the internet at the desk of the hilltop Hotel Mont Joli that overlooks the northern port.

“If they ask us, it’s because they have a better option, option for peace, and we always give peace a chance here, so we’ll wait to see for one or two days,” he said.

The rebellion erupted on February 5 in Gonaives, Haiti’s fourth-largest city, and has spread over half the country. More than 80 people, half of them police officers, have been killed.