Haiti: two UN soldiers killed

A patrol of Jordanian soldiers in the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) came under fire on the evening of Nov. 10 as they were returning to their camp near the Port-au-Prince international airport. Two soldiers were killed: 1st Lt. Ahmad Mohammed Hassan Ba’irat and Cpl. Rami Wasif Taha Al Mohammed. The incident took place close to the center of Port-au-Prince’s Sonapi (Societe Nationale de Parcs Industriels) industrial park, near the impoverished Cite Soleil neighborhood. This was the worst violence against the MINUSTAH force since Dec. 24, 2005, when a Jordanian soldier was killed with a shot to the head, also near Cite Soleil. (Associated Press, Nov. 11; Haiti Press Network, Nov. 11)

Opposition to the military presence in Haiti has increased following clashes between MINUSTAH troops and local people in Cite Soleil on Oct. 19 in which at least three residents were shot dead. The clashes occurred when MINUSTAH troops began demolishing abandoned houses to open up road access to part of the neighborhood. On Oct. 24 students led a demonstration against MINUSTAH near the National Museum in downtown Port-au-Prince, where an official ceremony for United Nations Day was taking place. The protest was supported by the Democratic Popular Movement (MODEP), which launched a campaign in July to mobilize popular sentiment against the military occupation. (Haiti Support Group News Briefs, Oct. 31, some from InfoHaiti.net and AlterPresse)

Crime, especially kidnapping, continues to be a major problem in Port-au-Prince despite MINUSTAH anti-crime operations. According to the Agence Haitienne de Presse (AHP) news agency, on Nov. 10 police divisional commissar Michael Lucius was removed from his post as head of investigations into kidnappings. For two months he has refused an order to appear before investigative judge Napela Saintil, who accused Lucius of himself conspiring with kidnappers. Lucius claimed Saintil was biased against him; apparently Saintil has now recused himself from the case, which is going to a new judge. (AHP, Nov. 10; HSG, Nov. 4 from Reuters)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Nov. 12

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