Chorus of condemnation at murder of UN police officer in Haiti

14 April 2008

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the Security Council and the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Haiti have joined together to strongly condemn Saturday’s execution-style killing of a Nigerian police officer serving with the operation in the impoverished Caribbean country.

The plainclothes officer, a 36-year-old father, was with three other members of his formed police unit (FPU) near the cathedral in the Bel-Air district of the capital, Port-au-Prince, when he was dragged from his car and shot dead by unidentified gunmen, according to the mission, known as MINUSTAH.

The murder took place two days after another gun attack on three blue helmets serving with MINUSTAH, and comes amid violent unrest across Haiti over the past week because of a recent spike in the price of basic foods.

The mission said it has already opened an inquiry into the killing in collaboration with Haitian police officers. MINUSTAH “will pursue the authors of this abject crime with the strongest determination,” it added.

In a statement released by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban said he “learned with shock” of the killing of the police officer and offered his condolences to the man’s family, his colleagues and the Nigerian Government.

“The Secretary-General… emphasizes that peace and stability constitute essential conditions for social and economic development, as well as to promote investments and job creation, which, together with the immediate measures announced by the Haitian authorities, constitute the best ways, in the medium-term, to fight against the increase in the cost of living.”

Security Council members also decried the attack and stressed the need to maintain public order in Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, and the scene of widespread public protests against the rising cost of living.

In a press statement, the Council urged international donors to provide emergency relief as a priority to alleviate the suffering for Haitians. The World Bank has announced a $10 million grant to help the Government respond, with food to be allocated specifically for children and other vulnerable groups.

Last Thursday, three UN peacekeepers from Sri Lanka were shot while on patrol in the capital, but their injuries are not considered life-threatening. On Saturday members of the national Senate voted to dismiss Prime Minister Jacques-Edouard Alexis.

In a separate statement MINUSTAH said it hoped a new government could be quickly formed and Haiti could return to its efforts to rebuild after years of misrule and suffering.

“The reform process must continue. At the same time, Haitians must work together to consolidate the stability and the progress which they have realised.”


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Three UN blue helmets shot while on patrol in Haitian capital

Three United Nations peacekeepers serving in Haiti were shot last night in a poor neighbourhood of the capital, Port-au-Prince, amid widespread public demonstrations and discontent over the rising cost of the living in the impoverished Caribbean country.