Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Clashes Between Gangs, UN Troops in Haiti, 2 Killed

Jul 21, 2006

Clashes between gangs, troops in Haiti, 2 killed
Fri Jul 21, 2006 1:29 AM BST

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (Reuters) – Two gunmen were shot to death on Thursday as gangs continued to battle Haitian police and U.N. troops in the troubled Caribbean nation, authorities said.

The gunfights took place near the Cite Soleil slum not far from Haiti’s international airport, the same area where several people died in gunfire on Wednesday.

“They (gunmen) attacked us. We returned fire and two were killed,” said Frantz Lerebours, a spokesman for the Haitian police. “We are not going to surrender the country to bandits.”

He said one police officer was wounded during the clashes. A U.N. spokeswoman said no peacekeepers were hurt.

Five people died on Wednesday in similar incidents. Four were killed in Port-au-Prince and a policeman was gunned down in the northern city of Gonaives.

Haiti suffered nearly two years of political and gang violence following the ouster of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in early 2004. U.N. peacekeeping troops were sent to restore security after Aristide was pushed from power by a bloody rebellion.

But the violence died down just before the poorest country in the Americas held new elections in February, when former Aristide ally Rene Preval won the presidency.

Authorities could offer no immediate explanation for the surge in gunfire and kidnappings in recent days. At least nine people were abducted on Wednesday, according to police sources and radio reports.

Two U.S. missionaries who had been abducted on Sunday were released on Thursday after a ransom was paid, authorities said.

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