Haiti's rebel leader Guy Philippe declared himself the new chief of the country's military on Tuesday but said he had no political aspirations.

"I am the chief," said Philippe, speaking at a news conference with other Haitian rebel leaders and senior police officials.

Philippe, a former provincial police chief, later clarified his remarks, saying he meant "military chief."

"I am not interested in politics," he said. "The president is the legal president, so we follow his orders."

On Sunday, Haiti's Supreme Court Chief Justice Boniface Alexandre was installed as interim leader. Jean-Bertrand Aristide resigned his presidency and fled the country the same day under pressure from the United States and France. Philippe has said he wants to rebuild the military, which was disbanded by Aristide in 1995.

But the U.S. State Department dismissed Philippe's claims and said rebels should lay down their arms.

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said the rebels do not have a role in the political rebuilding process going on in Haiti.

"The rebels have to lay down their arms and go home," Boucher said.

Roger Noriega, the assistant secretary of state for the region, said Philippe "is not in control of anything but a ragtag band of people."

Meanwhile, violence has subsided and many people have returned to work in Haiti. But there were also reports of scattered shootings and lootings. Executed bodies were found in the streets and there were reports of reprisal killings of Aristide supporters.

There were no reports of fighting between rebels and U.S., French and Canadian troops, who are part of a United Nations-mandated security force.

Troops are establishing security at diplomatic missions and other sites around the country. Hundreds of U.S. marines and 100 French troops are camped at the airport.

U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld estimated that between 1,500 and 2,000 U.S. troops would go to Haiti for a "relatively short period."

Prime Minister Paul Martin said Canada is still trying to determine how many more troops Canada can send.

Up to 5,000 troops from several countries are expected in coming weeks.