Guy Philippe at all costs: BSAP strengthened and ready for battle

The BSAP agents ensure security and caution that, at times, the enthusiasm of the population does not spill over into the nearby Haitian border limits located near the Massacre River. | Pierre Michel Jean/AyiboPost

By Rolph Louis-Jeune & Jabin Phontus, Ayibopost, Jan. 16, 2024

Upon his return to Haiti last November, following a six year stint in prison in the United States for laundering money from drug trafficking, former police commander Guy Philippe called on his companions in arms, according to sources privy to these developments.

Joseph Jean Baptiste, head of the Protected Areas Security Brigade (BSAP) in Hinche, has confirmed that he was among the people contacted. A member of this state unit dedicated to environmental protection, he says he fought in several cities alongside Guy Philippe in the armed struggles that helped to overthrow President Jean Bertrand Aristide in 2004.

“All of the departmental leaders of the BSAP are former soldiers who, for the most part, fought with Guy Philippe in 2004,” explains Jean Baptiste, also a spokesman for demobilized soldiers.

On Sunday, January 14, 2024, Guy Philippe made another appeal, this time in public. In a video released on YouTube, the former police officer called upon the BSAP, as well as the army and the police, to join him in what he calls a “revolution” to liberate Haiti starting this Monday, January 15, 2024.

All of the BSAP’s departmental heads are former military personnel, most of whom had fought alongside Guy Philippe in 2004.

BSAP commanders confirmed to AyiboPost that they are prepared to fight alongside the Pestel strongman.

“To say that we are not allies of Guy Philippe at the BSAP level would be a betrayal,” Fritzner Jean Pierre, commander of the brigade in Ouanaminthe, told AyiboPost.

Administratively, the BSAP falls under the authority of the National Agency for Protected Areas (ANAP) whose mission is to manage and coordinate the “National System of Protected Areas in the country”. This institution was elevated to the rank of General Directorate in 2017 by former President Jovenel Moïse.

The current director of ANAP, Jeantel Joseph, heads the Consortium of
Political Parties under the banner of which Guy Philippe was elected senator of Grand’Anse during the elections of November 20, 2016. Contacted by AyiboPost, Joseph did not respond before publication.

Since his return to the country, Guy Philippe has been touring a number of cities to preach his revolution.

In Ouanaminthe, during a visit to the canal construction site on the Massacre River on January 2, 2024, Philippe was protected mainly by armed BSAP agents. “There was no incident, everything took place peacefully,” says Fritzner Jean Pierre, brigade commander in the area.

BSAP commanders confirmed to AyiboPost that they are prepared to fight alongside the Pestel strongman.

Guy Philippe’s movements seem to be causing concern at the highest levels of power. Following the former rebel’s visit to the North-East, the government requested a list of all BSAP agents as well as an inventory of the institution’s equipment, according to Jean Pierre. This request was interpreted, according to the commander, as an attempt to “intimidate ANAP’s director, Jeantel Joseph.”

“There is a coalition between the commanders of the BSAP, Director Jeantel Joseph, Guy Philippe and the government commissioner of Miragoane, Jean Ernest Muscadin [known for extrajudicial executions] in order to react together against any action by the government,” explains Joseph Jean Baptiste, commander of the BSAP in Hinche.

The situation can get out of hand at any time. Any attack against the brigade or the dismissal of Jeantel Joseph will serve to accomplish Guy Philippe’s revolutionary project, according to Joseph Jean Baptiste. “All is fair in love and war, may the strongest win! Period,” adds the spokesperson for the demobilized soldiers, all while warning the government not to attack Philippe.

Despite a tense relationship with de facto Prime Minister Ariel Henry’s administration, the BSAP is strengthening in the south of the country.

On November 3, 2023, the structure installed fifteen new agents in the area in the presence of several departmental authorities and launched a campaign to graduate 300 others by mid-February, according to an official. The new agents are training at the former base of the construction company, Estrella, in “Lapòt” in the commune of Camp-Perrin.

The recruitment process for the BSAP is different from that of the PNH. The brigade does not impose any age or academic restrictions.

“In the absence of any legal issues, applicants are admitted based on recommendations following the results of investigations carried out by our intelligence service,” explains Fagasse Mychelain, South Inspector General of the BSAP.

The institution, some of whose members are heavily armed, has also been ramping up the number of high-profile, often violent interventions, very far from its official environmental monitoring mission in recent months.

After the new agents were installed in Camp-Perrin, three of them beat and injured a deaf-mute in the area during a scuffle, according to several witnesses interviewed by AyiboPost.

“Ill-intentioned individuals took malicious pleasure in insulting the agents,” Inspector Mychelain explains to AyiboPost. “We did what was necessary to take the young person to the hospital, identify and punish the perpetrators of this act while transferring them to the capital,” adds the Camp-Perrin native.

The BSAP agents did not stop there.

At least once, AyiboPost observed them directing traffic in the town of Les Cayes at the end of last year.

On December 16, 2023, these agents intervened alongside the municipal police at the “Relè” market in the town of Les Cayes to violently evict the merchants installed on the side of the street.

The recruitment process for the BSAP is different from that of the PNH. There are no age or academic restrictions.

BSAP agents also attacked van drivers serving the route between the town of Les Cayes and Cavaillon, Maniche, Camp-Perrin forcing them to abandon the intersection between the first Grande rue and Boulevard des Quatre Chemins which was used as a parking area, in accordance with a municipal directive dated November 28, 2023.

When asked about the legality of these interventions which are not in accordance with the Brigade’s mission, the director of the BSAP, Joarilus Placide told AyiboPost: “We are in a vacuum and the involvement of all actors for national security is essential. »

The southern departmental director of the Ministry of the Environment, Jean Marc Cherisier, confirms having observed the agents in the streets. “I saw them, but this issue doesn’t interest me, because they are directly under the ANAP’s authority,” he told AyiboPost.

Accusations of unlawful actions are a regular feature of BSAP’s history.

An AyiboPost article revealed in December 2023 the alleged involvement of corps agents in smuggling on the border, and the receipt without official accounting of thousands of US dollars for the construction of a base in the north of the country.

In February 2022, the Ministry of the Environment canceled all of the BSAP agents’ badges for “appropriate screening and examination,” because of the “repeated unscrupulous behavior of some agents, relayed through the media.”

Because of these abuses, Guy Philippe’s public appeal to the BSAP for aid raises questions about the group’s potential transformation into an armed wing of the revolution, announced by the former rebel leader against the authorities, the political class, and the economic elite.

Trained in Ecuador by the United States Special Forces in the early 1990s, Guy Philippe was police chief in Cap-Haïtien until his dismissal in October 2000 for participating in the planning of a coup d’état.

After this decision, the former commissioner took refuge in the Dominican Republic where he and former soldiers founded the Front for National Liberation and Reconstruction (FLRN) with the main objective of overthrowing Aristide’s government.

Between 2001 and 2004, numerous crimes were attributed to this rebel force.

On July 28, 2001, the group was denounced in an attack against the Haitian National Police Academy in Pétion-Ville. The academy administrator and two police cadets were killed, and seventeen other cadets were injured.

On June 23, 2002, the paramilitary force launched an attack on the border town of Belladère. Five family members of a Fanmi Lavalas coordinator were mowed down by the militia.

In February 2004, Guy Philippe returned to the country. And on February 29 of the same year, he succeeded: former president Jean Bertrand Aristide was forced to leave the country aboard a plane escorted by members of the American army.

Subsequently, under the banner of the National Front for National Reconstruction (FRN) which transformed into a political party, Guy Philippe presented himself as a candidate for the 2006 presidential election. He obtained less than 1% of the vote.

Since 2007, Guy Philippe has been under investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as well as Haitian anti-drug agents.

He ran for office in the November 2016 elections, and was elected senator of the Grand’Anse department.

Having just withdrawn his certificate as an elected senator from the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP), Guy Philippe was arrested as he left a radio show, then extradited to the United States on January 5, 2017 where he would be sentenced by the American courts to nine years in prison for laundering money from drug trafficking.

According to René Civil, former ally of Fanmi Lavas and coordinator of the Patriotic Emergence Party, Guy Philippe’s movement is “a strategy by the political establishment in power since 2004 to revive itself under a new guise.”

According to Civil, Guy Philippe returned to the country with the same speech from 2004 to do the work of great powers like the United States of America.

The former Fanmi Lavas ally fears a possible catastrophe in the country as the fateful date of February 7 approaches, bringing the possibility of an armed and bloody confrontation between the Guy Philippe camp and that of the team in power.

Much criticized by the population, Prime Minister Ariel Henry has led the country since the assassination of Jovenel Moise in 2021, thanks to an intervention by the international community in Haiti, led by the United States. His promises to stabilize the country and organize elections have not materialized, more than two years after his rise to power in a context where his name is cited in the still unsolved murder.

Guy Philippe was contacted without success for this article.

According to Himmler Rébu, a former colonel in the Haitian army, “all of the social conditions are united for an eruption in the country. This situation, considers the former minister, can lead to a catastrophe and escape the control of the person who caused it.


Posted Jan. 20, 2023