The United Nations mission in Haiti has called on armed groups in the country to refrain from occupying spaces or taking part in its large-scale deployment to maintain order in Cité Soleil, one of the low-income districts in the capital, Port-au-Prince.
"The fact that we are engaged in an operation of this nature should not be misunderstood by any armed groups as an opportunity to occupy public or private spaces, or to include themselves in any action concerning the maintenance of order which is not legitimately theirs," Hocine Medili, the Principal Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary General, told a news conference yesterday.
The UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) had started the deployment on Tuesday to provide the residents of Cité Soleil with "a safe and normal environment" free of activities by the armed gangs that had been occupying it, he said.
"It is important to emphasize that this joint operation was not targeted against any specific group, or political movement. Instead, this intervention's purpose is to gradually re-establish security and create a political space which will allow the residents of Cité Soleil to offer their support during the process of national inclusion and reconciliation," he said.
Gen. Augusto Heleno Pereira, MINUSTAH's Force Commander, said the UN operation was being carried out to support the Haitian National Police (HNP), which was scheduled to open an office in Cité Soleil this week from which it would conduct regular patrols.
MINUSTAH said it had concluded the initial phase of the deployment, during which four people were injured.