Two UN peacekeepers in Haiti killed in clashes with armed elements

21 March 2005
MINUSTAH's Lt. Elouafi briefs press

Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the Security Council today condemned two violent incidents which claimed the lives of two United Nations peacekeepers and injured three other troops of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) Sunday.

Nepalese military manning a checkpoint on the road between the central towns of Mirebalais and Terre Rouge, "were fired on indiscriminately by armed groups using women and children as shields," said a statement issued by Mr. Annan's spokesman. One Nepalese soldier was killed.

"The Secretary-General is outraged that armed groups are using civilians as human shields and by these cowardly attacks on international peacekeeping personnel who are mandated to ensure a secure and stable environment in Haiti" under the relevant Security Council resolution, the statement said.

The Mission took back the police station in Terre Rouge today from the armed elements that had illegally occupied it for some time, it said.

Earlier yesterday MINUSTAH and the Haitian National Police launched a joint operation to re-take the Petit-Goave police station that had been held by armed elements since last August, the statement said.

One Sri Lankan soldier was killed and three others wounded after sustained exchanges of fire, which also left two armed elements dead and 12 injured. MINUSTAH was able to gain control of the police station as a result of the operation," the statement said, adding that Mr. Annan was saddened by the MINUSTAH deaths.

Security Council members expressed strong condemnation of the incidents resulting in the two deaths, said Brazilian Ambassador and Council President for March, Ronaldo Mota Sardenberg.

"We offer our condolences to the victims' families and to the authorities of Nepal and Sri Lanka. We commend the dedication of MINUSTAH's personnel and call upon the Transitional Government of Haiti to take immediate measures to bring to justice the perpetrators, sponsors and authors of these attacks," he said in a press statement.

The Council was calling on all parties in Haiti "to renounce the use of violence to advance their goals," he said.


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