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25864: (news) Chamberlain: UN seeks SWAT team, spies, road projects in Haiti (fwd)
From: Greg Chamberlain <GregChamberlain@compuserve.com>
By Irwin Arieff
UNITED NATIONS, July 28 (Reuters) - A senior U.N. official urged the
Security Council on Thursday to reinforce the peacekeeping mission in Haiti
with a "SWAT" team and an intelligence unit to boost its fight against
But just putting an end to street gangs, killings and kidnappings is
not enough, said U.N. peacekeeping head Jean-Marie Guehenno.
He said it was equally important to launch projects like road
construction and ensure all political factions participate in elections due
Haitians "have to see that the mission is making progress and also
making a difference in their lives," he told reporters after briefing the
15-nation council behind closed doors.
A SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) team would help peacekeepers cope
with gang leaders and hostage-takers, he said. In a densely populated
setting, "these are highly trained individuals who can do the job quickly
and efficiently without risk to the surrounding civilian population."
As for intelligence agents, he said, "the best possible information on
the ground is helpful and possibly having some very specialized capacities
would help on the security front."
Guehenno said the United Nations was investigating allegations of high
civilian casualties during a July 6 anti-gang raid in Cite Soleil, Haiti's
Rights groups and residents said U.N. peacekeepers and Haitian police
killed numerous civilian bystanders during the raid, but U.N. officials
said they were unaware of any unarmed civilian deaths.
Guehenno said the mission had heard that a number of revenge killings
took place after the raid, something that might explain the finding of
civilian bodies at the site.
While the account was unconfirmed, "we have every reason to believe
that report," he said. "There may have been some civilian casualties, but
certainly not in the magnitude mentioned by those who want to discredit
MINUSTAH," he said, using the acronym for the U.N. mission in Haiti.