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More UN blue helmets arrive to protect Haitians from criminal gangs

More UN blue helmets arrive to protect Haitians from criminal gangs

The first of 350 Nepalese soldiers, all of whom are expected to be deployed by early March, began arriving in Haiti this week to participate in the United Nations peacekeeping mission known as MINUSTAH.

The newly arrived soldiers will join peacekeepers already on the ground as early as this week to help rid Cité Soleil, the infamous inner-city neighbourhood in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, of criminal gangs who have long been terrorizing citizens.

“I am determined to increase the pressure on the gangs who have been holding the innocent people of Haiti hostage for so long,” said Force Commander Major General Carlos Albert Dos Santos Cruz, who himself is also new to his position, having started earlier this month.

MINUSTAH troops already maintain round-the-clock surveillance of the area, and last week, they launched an operation to gain control of a house used as a staging ground by gangs to commit crimes and shoot at blue helmets.

“Our aim is to provide a safe and secure environment where people can live without fear,” said Major General Santos Cruz, who met with contingent commanders on Sunday to begin strategizing several weekly operations to alleviate the gang problem.

The Nepalese troops join 7,200 military personnel from 17 countries already serving in Haiti. Of these, 80 per cent are contributed by nine Latin American countries.

Yesterday, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of MINUSTAH, Edmond Mulet, addressed the Security Council which met in closed consultations to discuss the mandate of MINUSTAH, set to end on 15 February.