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25366: Wharram - mews - Haiti gunmen wound U.N. troops, aid workers (fwd)
From Bruce Wharram <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Haiti gunmen wound U.N. troops, aid workers
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) -- Gunmen opened fire on U.N. troops at a
checkpoint in a Haitian slum, wounding two peacekeepers and two Haitian Red
Cross workers, a U.N. official said Friday.
The attack occurred Thursday in the sprawling seaside slum of Cite Soleil,
the site of frequent clashes between well-armed gangs and peacekeepers
patrolling the area, United Nations spokeswoman Myrna Domit said.
Five soldiers were at a checkpoint near a hospital when unknown gunmen began
shooting, Domit said.
A Bolivian soldier was shot in the knee, while a Jordanian military
interpreter was hit in both legs, Domit said. Two Haitian Red Cross workers
were slightly injured. The four are being treated at a U.N. hospital in the
The attack came the same day U.N. mission chief Juan Valdez vowed to hunt
down gang leaders who control parts of Port-au-Prince slums and have been
blamed for recent shooting and kidnappings. Valdes urged citizens to
volunteer information on criminals through a new telephone hot line.
The 7,400-strong U.N. force has been criticized for a lack of aggressiveness
in cracking down on militants since the February 2004 armed uprising that
forced President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to flee Haiti.
On Thursday, Roger Noriega, the U.S. assistant secretary for western
Hemisphere affairs, urged the Brazil-led force to be "more pro-active" in
combating gangs, which he said were trying to derail election scheduled for
October and November.
Clashes between pro- and anti-Aristide gangs, Haitian police and
peacekeepers have killed more than 700 people since September, when Aristide
supporters stepped up calls for his return from exile in South Africa. Human
rights groups have warned voters could be too scared to vote in the fall
A top aid to Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Jorge Armando
Felix, was traveling to Haiti on Saturday to evaluate stabilization efforts
and discuss the possibility of new technical help for the interim
Also Friday, police secured the release of an interim Foreign Affairs
Ministry official who had been kidnapped by armed men the day before in
Port-au-Prince, police spokeswoman Gessy Coicou said. She declined to say if
a ransom was paid to free Eric Perreau, the ministry's chief of protocol, or
if any arrests were made.
Copyright 2005 The Associated Press.