UN peacekeepers in Haiti come under fire, two are wounded

17 June 2005
MINUSTAH's Lt. Elouafi briefs press

In the latest incident involving United Nations peacekeepers in Haiti, two Peruvian soldiers were shot and wounded yesterday, one seriously, in a poor district of the Caribbean country's capital, Port-au-Prince, the mission said today.

As the "blue helmets" were patrolling the seaside district of Cité Soleil in mid-morning they exchanged fire with armed groups, the military spokesman for the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), Colonel El Oufi Boulbars, said. The two were treated at the mission's Argentine hospital, he said.

Late last week, a MINUSTAH peacekeeper, two Haitian Red Cross volunteers and another Haitian civilian were wounded – one severely – when unknown gunmen opened fire on the group in front of a hospital in Cité Soleil.

Two Sri Lankan peacekeepers were wounded on 2 June when the armoured personnel carrier in which they were travelling came under fire and in April a Philippine peacekeeper was killed.

According to Secretary-General Kofi Annan's report to the Security Council last month, nearly 500 prisoners were released from jail in February and nearly 100 have been recaptured. The security situation has deteriorated since then, even though MINUSTAH has taken back some police stations that had been illegally occupied by armed gangs.

A search in April of a house suspected of sheltering armed suspects turned up uniforms of the Haitian National Police (HNP). MINUSTAH said that explained how the recent crimes by armed gangs of vehicle hijackings, murders and abductions came to be blamed on the HNP.


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