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25915: (news) Chamberlain: Haiti-UN Troops (fwd)
From: Greg Chamberlain <GregChamberlain@compuserve.com>
By ALFRED de MONTESQUIOU
PORT-AU-PRINCE, July 28 (AP) -- The U.N. mission to Haiti said it will
receive 750 more peacekeeping troops to help control the violence that
threatens to undermine fall elections.
The new troops from Jordan will arrive in coming months and will be
serve as temporary reinforcement to the multinational contingent of 6,200
troops and 1,400 police trying to stabilize the country, U.N. spokesman
Damian Onses-Cardona said Thursday.
The announced reinforcement came a day after Amnesty International said
the presence of U.N. peacekeepers for more than a year had failed to curb
widespread rights abuses and political violence and that the human rights
crisis could worsen as the elections approach.
Haiti is scheduled to hold local elections in October followed by
national elections in November to replace the interim government put in
place after a violent rebellion that ousted President Jean-Bertrand
Aristide in February 2004.
U.N. officials said security has begun to improve in recent weeks
because of increased police roadblocks and raids against gang leaders.
While there are no official crime statistics for Haiti, a senior U.N.
adviser said the average number of kidnappings in the capital, which has a
population of some 2.5 million, has decreased by half to about six a day
over past few weeks.
The U.N.'s mandate is expected to end next February, a few days after
the newly elected government is scheduled to come in power.
Separately, the top U.N. peacekeeping official said Thursday that the
United Nations is also seeking specialized troops or police who would be
better trained for raids in dense civilian areas.
Jean-Marie Guehenno, the undersecretary-general for peacekeeping, told
the Security Council that forces in Haiti aren't trained for raids such as
one this month in the capital's Cite Soleil slum in which witnesses have
claimed that at least nine civilians were killed in crossfire.
"I have to acknowledge the forces we have do not have the kind of very
specialized capacity ... that makes absolutely sure that there will be zero
civilian casualties in a densely populated environment," he said while
briefing the council in New York.