UN troops and armed gangs exchanged gunfire in Haiti’s Cite Soleil shantytown late June 7, leaving at least three dead. Cite Soleil, on the northern edge of the Poart-au-Prince, was the scene of routine gunfights between gangs and foreign troops last year, but had been relatively peaceful since before Haiti’s Feb. 7 presidential election.
A bastion of support for former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Cite Soleil was rife with violence after he was pushed from power by a bloody rebellion in February 2004. The peacekeepers, now numbering about 8,700 soldiers and police, were sent to Haiti after Aristide’s ouster to support a US-backed interim government. The violence in Cite Soleil diminished when Rene Preval, an Aristide protege, emerged as the front-runner for the presidency. Preval won the February election and took office in May. (Reuters, June 8)