Haitian slain in Dominican Republic town after local residents call for expulsion of migrants

Police in the Dominican Republic were trying Thursday to determine if the slaying of a Haitian man in a border region was connected to a protest against migrants in the area.

The unidentified man was found stabbed to death along the side of a road near Hatillo Palma, where hours earlier a group of people had burst into a shantytown to protest the alleged rape of a local woman by three Haitian migrants during a robbery. Later, a home where about 20 people lived was destroyed by a fire that was intentionally set.

Police Lt. Col. Pablo Ortega said authorities have not confirmed that the killing and the protests were connected. He said six people had been detained for questioning about the death as well as for the attacks on the migrant community.

Authorities increased security in the area seeking to prevent further violence.

Hatillo Palma is in an agricultural border region where migrants from neighboring Haiti make up much of the labor force. It was the scene of similar violence in 2005, when people in the town destroyed homes and forced migrants to flee as retribution for the killing of a Dominican woman, allegedly at the hands of migrants.

The most recent violence takes place amid increased tension over migration on the island of Hispaniola.

The Dominican Republic recently began deporting Haitians following the expiration of a deadline to apply for legal residency. The government estimates about 524,000 migrants are in the country, most of them from neighboring Haiti. It has said nearly 290,000 applied for residency, with most still waiting to learn whether they met the qualifications. Officials say about 66,000 chose to return to Haiti.

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