Several UN contingents head to Haiti to bolster peacekeeping mission

Several UN contingents head to Haiti to bolster peacekeeping mission

Spanish and Moroccan troops serving as part of a joint battalion are headed to Haiti to participate in the United Nations peacekeeping mission there, officials of the world body said today.

Meanwhile, Chile and Ecuador will be fielding a composite engineering company at a total force level of over 153 staff as part of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), which has an authorized troop strength of 6,700.

The engineering company will help in the construction, maintenance and/or upgrade of the major supply routes for MINUSTAH. Among other tasks, it will also build and maintain infrastructure.

The Military Police unit contributed by Guatemala and comprising 70 troops has started deploying its major equipment and will be fully operational in early November. A small advance party will be arriving Saturday in the capital, Port au Prince.

The main body of the Sri Lankan battalion, with 750 personnel, will be arriving at the end of this month.

With the arrival of the incoming contingents, MINUSTAH will have roughly 4,100 personnel deployed in Haiti.

The troops are “badly needed,” said MINUSTAH spokesman Toussaint Kongo-Doudou in a phone interview with the UN News Service from the Haitian capital.

He called for UN Member States to “continue to support Haiti by sending in more troops and civilian police.”

Also today, the senior UN envoy to Haiti, Juan Gabriel Valdés, travelled to the northern coastal city of Cap Haitien to meet with local authorities.

Mr. Valdes was also slated to voice his backing for the Government’s office to support demobilized military, which started its work Thursday. There are a number of former members of the Haitian army that are still operating in the Cap Haitien area.